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How to Tackle Missed Birth Control Pills?

Written by
Dr. Sanjay Kumar Bhattacharyya
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on May 31, 2016 and last reviewed on Feb 10, 2021   -  1 min read


Missing contraceptive pills are a common issue. There are definite guidelines to manage those situations effectively to avoid an unintended pregnancy.

How to Tackle Missed Birth Control Pills?

Combined oral contraceptive pills are unique in the sense that they not only provide you a near 100% contraception but also could possess an excellent control over your cycle. But, there exists a constant prerequisite that you have to take these pills daily very regularly. Any miss of these oral contraceptive pills could cause a loss of protection as well as unscheduled bleeding.

Guidelines to Manage Missed Pills:

Then, how to tackle those situations when you forget to take pills? Some guidelines are there to manage this and it depends on the number of missed pills as well as on which phase of the cycle you have missed to take.

A) Missed one or two active pills at any time of your cycle:

  1. Take the most recent missed pill as soon as you could remember.
  2. Continue the remaining pills daily as usual.
  3. You do not require any additional contraception as well as any emergency contraception.

B) Missed three or more but less than seven consecutive pills:

  1. Take the most recent pill as soon as you could remember. Discard the other previously missed pills to stay on schedule.
  2. Continue the remaining pills daily as usual.
  3. Use a condom or abstain from sex until you have taken at least seven pills following the miss.

C) When you miss three or more pills, you have to consider also in which phase of your cycle you have forgotten to take them:

  1. If you missed three or more pills in your first or second week of the cycle or started the pack late, then you need emergency contraception.
  2. If you missed the similar row of the active pills in the third week, then you should finish the active pills of your current pack and start a new pack without any gap or discarding the seven inert pills. That means you have to omit the pill-free interval. And, there is no need for emergency contraception.

Now, if you have missed 7 or more pills in a row, then it is not considered as a miss. It is a stoppage of the pill and the rules of the missed pills are not applied there.

Have you missed a pill? Consult an obstetrician and gynaecologist online -->

Last reviewed at:
10 Feb 2021  -  1 min read




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