How to Take the Pill

The Pill is only effective if it is taken correctly, and that means taking it both regularly and on schedule. It is 99% effective, and can benefit a woman's health in several ways. But it is not a good choice of birth control for anyone who has trouble maintaining a schedule. Remember, it is important to use a condom during intercourse if there is any risk of contracting HIV or an STD. The pill protects you from nothing, except pregnancy.

How to get started
The Pill comes in monthly packs, and the entire pack must be taken for the pill to be effective. Most women are told to start taking the pill on a Sunday, or on the first day of their period. There is nothing special about Sundays when it comes to birth control, it is just an easy way to remember what day of the week you started on. Depending on the type of pill a woman has been prescribed, there will either be 28, or 21 pills in a pack. It is a good idea to take the pill everyday at the same time, it is more effective, and it is harder to forget if it is part of your daily routine. (Also, if a woman is experiencing breakthrough bleeding, taking the pill at the same time everyday can help).

A woman will take her first pill on either the first Sunday of her period, or on the first day of her period, depending on what her doctor prescribed. If she has a 28 pill pack, she should take all 28 pills and then start the new pack immediately. If she has a 21 pill pack, she should complete one pack, wait 7 days, and then start another pack. In both cases, the new pack should be started regardless of what day of the week it is, or what day of her period she is on.

When a woman first starts taking the pill she should also be using a back up form of contraception, such as condoms. The pill works by stimulating a woman's body to cease ovulation, so it is safest to use a backup through the first cycle of pills; our ovaries can't just come to a screetching halt.

What if I forget?
It is extremely important that a woman take the pill everyday, but mistakes happen. If a woman misses one pill she should take the pill immediately when she remembers, and then take the next pill at the scheduled time. If she misses two pills in a row she should take two pills as soon as she remembers, and then take two pills the next day again. After this she should return to the regular schedule. In this case she should use a backup method of contraception for 7 days after the missed pills. If she misses three pills in a row she will probably begin her period. If this is the case or not, she should throw away the rest of her pack, and begin the next pack as if she had never been on the pill. For example, a Sunday starter would start the new pack the next Sunday. She should use backup contraception util she has been back on the pill for 7 days.

If a woman misses a pill from the fourth week of a 28 pill pack, she needn't worry. She should throw away the rest of the missed pills and continue on schedule. These pills do not contain hormones, they are only a means to keeping a woman on an everyday schedule.

If a woman has forgotten one or more pills and doesn't get her period she should stop taking the pill and use another form of birth control. She should also have herself tested by her doctor or clinic for pregnancy, as a home test probably won't be accurate so soon after a missed period. If there is any question of whether a missed dose has made the pill ineffective, see a doctor, and use a backup.

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Copyright © 1999 GenneX Healthcare Technologies,Inc.


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