How to take the Contraceptive Pill

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When you first start taking the contraceptive pill, follow the instructions carefully on the back of the pack and listen to what your doctor says. Usually, when you start the pill, you are told to start the first pack on the first day of your period. If you start at this time, you will be protected immediately. It is ok to start at any other time during your cycle but you will need to use a condom or another contraception for seven days until the pill becomes effective.

The 21-day pill

This is the most common form of the pill and once you have started your pack, you take a pill every day for 21 days. The pill is most effective if you take the pill at the same time every day so it is best to choose a time of the day where you will always be able to take it and remember to take it. It’s a good idea to fit it into a common daily routine such as brushing your teeth and set an alarm so you remember to take it.

Once you have taken the pill for 21 days, you will take a seven-day break from the pill in which time you will experience a withdrawal bleed. This is very similar to a period except it is usually shorter and lighter than your previous periods, an added bonus of the contraceptive pill. After seven days have passed, so on the 8th day, you start the next pack of the pill. This day should be the same day as the day you stopped one week ago. It is important that you start the next pack on the correct day regardless of whether your withdrawal bleed has finished or not. If you start late, the pill will not be as effective at protecting you from pregnancy.

The everyday pill

This form of the contraceptive pill follows the same principle as the 21-day pill except on the seven-day break, you still take a pill. This pill is inactive and will not release any hormones into your body so you will still have a withdrawal bleed except you take a pill every day. The everyday pill is a good idea for people who like to keep in the routine of taking the contraceptive pill as some people forget when to start the next pack. In this instance, you start the next pack when your first pack is finished.

Skipping withdrawal bleeds

It is possible to skip a withdrawal bleed if you want to if the form of contraceptive pill you are taking is one that contains the same level of hormones throughout the pack. Instead of taking a seven-day break in between you pill, you start the next pack straight away and continue taking as normal. This means that you will not get a withdrawal bleed and you will still be protected in pregnancy. A number of women opt to do this for holiday vacations to avoid the hassle of a period so that they can enjoy themselves.

It is safe to skip withdrawal bleeds but it is not recommended that you keep taking the pill back to back, as the uterus lining will still continue to build up. Therefore you may get some spotting during your cycle and you may feel bloated if you continue to skip withdrawal bleeds. It is always best to talk to your doctor and get their advice on skipping withdrawal bleeds.

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