Missed A Week Of Birth Control Pills After Period

Table 3 Missed Pill For Extended

I’m on birth control pills, but have missed taking them once or twice. Can I get pregnant?

More and more women are using extended-cycle pills to avoid the inconvenience of a monthly period. Extended-cycle packs have 84 active tablets and 7 inactive tablets and result in only four periods per year. Taking low-dose estrogen in the last 7 pills helps to reduce side effects like bleeding and bloating linked with a hormone-free interval.10

The gradual increase in estrogen in Rivelsa may reduce breakthrough bleeding experienced during early cycles of extended-use pills compared with other extended-use pills.

It is important that you take your pill each day at the same time. All extended-cycle packs have the same general directions for missed pills, but it is important you know which pills are active and which pills are inactive in your pack.

Follow the directions in the table below if you miss one or more pills from an extended-cycle pack. If you are not sure which pills are active or inactive, or if your pill is not listed, review your patient package insert that comes with your prescription and ask your pharmacist or doctor.

  • The chart below lists colors for active and inactive pills, but be aware these colors may change, and generic equivalents of the below brands may be different colors.

Examples of Extended-Cycle Birth Control Pills


Table 4 References: 7

IMPORTANT NOTE: If at any time you are not sure what to do when you have a missed a pill, use a back-up non-hormonal birth control EVERY time you have sex. Contact your healthcare provider for further advice.

How Do Birth Control Pills Work

There are different types of birth control pills, but most types of hormonal birth control work by inhibiting your ovulation. If your ovaries dont release an egg each month, you cannot get pregnant.

Birth control pills typically contain estrogen and progesterone. Some pills contain only progesterone. These hormones both work to change your natural menstrual cycle and stop ovulation, although 40 percent of people who use the minipill continue to ovulate.

With most combined birth control prescriptions, you take active pills for 21 days and then placebo pills for seven days. These seven days are known as the rest week. Even though youre not taking any hormones on these days, the pill is still working to prevent pregnancy. You usually get your monthly bleeding during these last seven days, but its withdrawal bleeding, not a real period. There are some oral contraceptives that have 24 active pills and four placebo pills. And for progesterone-only pills, you typically take them for 28 days straight and then immediately start the next pack.

Birth control also prevents pregnancy by thickening your cervical mucus, which makes it harder for sperm to reach your uterus. It also makes your endometrial lining thinner so its less likely to support a fertilized egg.

Number : Do You Even Need A Menstrual Period At All

Here’s a fun fact: Monthly menstruation isn’t really necessary. In hunter-gatherer times, women were having babies one after the other, and they breastfed for long intervals, which suppresses ovulation and menstruation. Prehistoric women had about 50 menstruations, while modern women have about 450 periods!

With a 28-day cycle , the traditional birth control pill has no basis in biology. The makers of the pill decided to go this route to mimic the natural menstruation cycle to be more acceptable to society.

We know what you’re thinking: Can I just take birth control pills and not have my period at all? The answer is yes you’re allowed to skip your periods using birth control pills. You should ask your doctor if you’re interested. We got all the information in our previous article on how to delay your period.

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Periods : Our Bodies Ourselves

Okay, so women have a menstrual cycle, aka as a monthly period. What exactly is your period, we mean, naturally speaking? Like what does your period look like if you were not taking birth control?

Getting ready for baby-making, science style

Your period before the pill was like this: Your body thinks you might want to get pregnant and so it gives you a chance every month . Every menstrual cycle, your body is preparing for you to be pregnant, and your uterus is building up the lining in anticipation for the new baby.

Menstrual bleeding: Discard that uterine lining!

But news flash to your uterus: you’re not planning on having any babies this month. Typically, the levels of your hormones , your body’s chemical messengers, go up and down depending on the situation. Suppose you don’t get pregnant this cycle. In that case, your estrogen and progesterone levels fall and tell your body to start menstruating, which means discarding the monthly buildup of the lining of the uterus.

Guess what? Your period on birth control is a “withdrawal” bleed

When you have your menstrual period while taking birth control, it’s called a “withdrawal” period because you’re not taking the active pills with the hormones in them. Essentially, it’s a hormone withdrawal, and the bleeding happens because of this lack of hormones.

Okay, so that was a lot. But now you know. And all of the rest will make sense. Get ready for all of the reasons why you could have a missed period on birth control.

If You Miss Three Or More Pills

Missed period on birth control: Causes and when to expect ...

If you have missed three or more pills, you can:

  • Begin a new pack of pills the following Sunday , even if you have started bleeding. You should continue to use an additional birth control method for the first 14 days of the new pack of pills.
  • Take two pills for three days to get back on track .
  • Choose to stop taking the remainder of the pills, throw away the pack, and start a new pack.

If you miss three or more pills in a row, use a backup method of birth control until your next period and pill pack.

These guidelines apply to common combination birth control pills that contain consistent doses of estrogen and progestin for the duration of the cycle. If you use a pill that is biphasic or triphasic, meaning the hormone levels vary throughout the month, consult with the product directions or with your healthcare provider about what to do if you miss a pill.

Also Check: What Does It Mean When Your Period Is Irregular

Why Some People Choose To Stop Taking The Pill

In some cases, women report upsides of going off the pill, including a better libido, weight loss, and more stable moods, says Jennifer Wider, MD, womens health expert and author of The Doctors Complete College Girls Guide to Health.

But this really varies from person to person. In other words, just because your friend says she feels fantastic off the pill, it doesnt necessarily mean you should stop taking it.

Quitting the pill means you may miss out on health benefits, including according to the American Cancer Society a decreased risk of ovarian, endometrial, and possibly colorectal cancer. But taking certain birth control pills also comes with an increased risk of cervical and breast cancers and blood clots. Vinogradova Y, et al. . Use of combined oral contraceptives and risk of venous thromboembolism: Nested case-control studies using the QResearch and CPRD databases. DOI: 10.1136/bmj.h2135

Talk to your doctor about the pill youre on and any risks or benefits specific to you.

What Happens If You Skip Your Period On The Pill

This means that your period will also be skipped. If you are not already taking the Pill, it is usually best to start the first month by taking all the pills in the first packet, including the sugar pills. You can expect to get a period this time around. Following this period, only take the hormone pills and skip the sugar pills.

Recommended Reading: How To Get Rid Of My Period

How To Keep Your Menstrual Cycle On Track

If you miss your period while on the pill and you havent missed any doses, pregnancy isnt likely. Instead, the hormones in the pill are likely the cause. If you miss a second period and havent missed any doses, pregnancy is still unlikely. At this point though, if youre sexually active, its still worth taking a pregnancy test or calling your doctor.

Your doctor can help you address any other factors that may be at play. After youve pinpointed the cause, you should be able to get your period back on a regular cycle. You may be able to do this in a number of ways:

  • Make sure you take time to relieve stress. Try breathing techniques, yoga, restorative walks, and even journaling to get at the root of your stress.
  • Eat a healthy diet and work to keep your weight in a normal range. If you suspect you have an eating disorder, tell a friend or your doctor so they can point you to the resources you need to get help.
  • Keep up with regular exercise. Your activity level may seem manageable to you, but see if stepping back a bit helps your regular bleeding resume.

If You Missed 1 Hormonal Pill

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Hormonal contraceptive pills are also known as combined birth control pills.

This form of contraception typically involves taking one hormonal pill every single day for 21 days, followed by either a 7-day break or 7 days of nonactive placebo pills.

If you take the progestin-only pill, however, the response to a single missed pill is slightly different since you need to take the pill for 2 consecutive days to ensure protection.

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Continue Taking Your Pills

If you have taken any extra pills, you should carry on taking the rest of your packet as normal at the same time you usually take it each day.

For example, if you usually take your pill at 8am every day:

  • on Monday, you take your normal pill at 8am, but then take an extra pill by mistake at 8.15am
  • you should take your next pill at 8am on Tuesday, as normal

Definitions: So How Do You Define Bleeding

It’s nice that researchers like to define things. Here’s what they mean by spotting, bleeding, bleeding that’s too long, etc.

Bleeding: When we refer to menstrual “bleeding,” it means blood loss that requires you to wear sanitary protection like a tampon, pad, or pantiliner. The period blood might look red in color, as it’s probably fresh blood.

Spotting: When we say “spotting,” it means that the blood loss is so small that you wouldn’t have to wear any type of sanitary protection – not even pantyliners. The spotting could look like a brown discharge, the kind that appears towards the end of your period when the blood is “older” since it’s been there longer.

An episode of bleeding/spotting: You may have irregular spotting or bleeding during the month on birth control. Here’s how you can define an “episode” of the spotting or bleeding: The episode is preceded by 2 regular days without any spotting/bleeding and followed up by 2 days straight without any spotting/bleeding.

Infrequent bleeding: Fewer than 3 bleeding or spotting episodes in 3 months

Prolonged bleeding: Here’s something to note. If you’re thinking your period on birth control is going on too long, “prolonged” bleeding is defined as any bleeding/spotting episode lasting more than 2 weeks in 3 months.

Frequent bleeding: More than 5 bleeding or spotting episodes in 5 months.

Amenorrhea: This the medical term for when you don’t have your period in 3 months.

Also Check: Why Am I Bleeding Again After My Period

I Am Having Irregular Bleeding What Does That Mean

If you are on a hormonal contraceptive method such as the pill, ring, patch, Mirena or Implanon it is most likely related to the hormones. If you are late taking a pill or change your schedule you may have bleeding. Keep a calendar of your bleeding days and contact us if it is unusually heavy or persists the next cycle.

If you are not on a hormonal contraceptive method, your cycle may be affected by stress, travel, exercise, dietary changes, weight gain or loss or illness. Chlamydia may also cause light bleeding if you have not been screened and have had unprotected intercourse, chlamydia testing can be done with a urine sample by appointment.

What bleeding changes need to be evaluated by a health care provider? If you have repeated bleeding after intercourse, unusually heavy bleeding, unusually painful cramping with bleeding or irregular bleeding that persists the next cycle, please call to schedule an appointment.

Can I Use Birth Control Pills For Emergency Contraception

Missed Birth Control Pill In The Last Week: What To Do

If you take combined hormonal birth control pills that contain both an estrogen and progestin, and have no other options, higher doses of regular birth control pills can be used as an emergency contraceptive, taken as two doses 12 hours apart. However, the number of pills you would take will depend upon the brand you are taking.22 A doctor, clinic nurse, or pharmacist can tell you how many pills you should take based on the type and brand of oral birth control that you use. Call your healthcare provider as soon as possible.

On the days you take extra pills to make up for missed pills, you may feel a little sick to your stomach , but this should go away.

If you find that you frequently forget to take your pill, it may be better to use another form of birth control. Speak to your healthcare provider about other available birth control options that do not require a daily schedule.

Learn More: Emergency Contraception and the Morning After Pill

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Tips For Remembering Your Pill

While anyone can miss a pill now and then, it’s best to minimize how often you forget to take it. You may want to try several strategies to help you be consistent. Some ideas include:

  • Build it into a routine, such as getting ready for bed or for work, so it becomes automatic.
  • Set a daily alarm on your phone or download an app that sends you reminders.
  • If you use a sorter for other daily pills, add your birth control pill to it as well.
  • Put visual reminders in key spots, such as a sticky note on your bathroom mirror.
  • Set the pack next to your toothbrush, coffee pot, or something else you use at the same time each day.
  • If you’re frequently away from home when it’s time to take your pill, keep the packet in your wallet or purse.
  • Even if you’re rarely away from home when it’s time to take your pill, keep a few extras in your wallet or purse just in case.
  • If you’re traveling, be sure to take it at the same time you would at home. If your pill time at home is 9 p.m., take it when it’s 9 p.m. in your home time zone no matter what time it is where you are.

It also helps to know ahead of time what you should do if you miss a pill so it doesn’t send you into a panic. You may also want to keep a supply of backup contraceptive products on hand so you’re not caught unprepared.

If you realize after having sex that you’ve missed one or more pills, you may want to consider emergency contraception.

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