Oh no … You open up your birth control pill package and realize you missed a dose. Your insides wretch in fear as stomach turns with worry. “How could I forget?!” you ask yourself. In the hustle and bustle of daily life, it’s easy to miss a step or two in the routines of your morning wake-ups or evening wind-downs. What do you do now? And could you be pregnant from a missed pill?
If a missed pill has you worrying about a possible pregnancy, contact Avenue Women’s Center for a free medical-grade pregnancy test. Avenue has helped women in the DuPage County area face unintended pregnancies for over 30 years. Our tests offer accurate results you can trust in a supportive and confidential environment. Set up an appointment with one our caring pregnancy consultants today!
Missing a birth control pill can be stressful and send your mind into a stress spiral. You might have a ton of concerns as you try to figure out what to do next, with one major question: Can I get pregnant from a missed pill? Yes and no. If you missed an inactive pill during your period week, then no. But if you missed an active pill, then yes, you can get pregnant—but try not to panic just yet. There’s more to it than you might think …
Understanding how the pill works
Birth control pills prevent ovulation (release of an egg) by maintaining consistent hormone levels in your body, such as progesterone and estrogen. This is why it’s so important to take your pill within the same window of time every day. If you miss a pill, these hormone levels might vary and get thrown off, allowing possible ovulation and potentially increasing the risk of pregnancy. However, if you’ve been consistent about frequency and timing, the pill’s medication is more likely to remain in your system even with a missed pill. What you do next can help you get back on track to pregnancy prevention …
The next steps might vary depending on your specific type of birth control pill. Read your pill’s directions for specific instructions on what to do if you miss a pill. In most cases, taking the missed pill as soon as possible can help you get back on track. According to the Mayo Clinic, “If you miss an active pill, take it as soon as you remember—even if it means taking two active pills in the same day. Take the rest of the pack as usual, and use a backup method of contraception for seven days if you missed your pill by more than 12 hours.” Using condoms or other forms of contraception for the remainder of your pill’s cycle can further help with pregnancy prevention when you’ve missed a dose. It’s also a safe measure to consult with your doctor or your health care professional. They can recommend the best steps for you personally, as everyone’s body reacts differently to a missed pill.
How can you make sure you don’t forget again?
Location. Location. Location. Where can you place your pills so that you are sure to see them every day? By your toothbrush? On your nightstand by your bed? Or maybe carrying them with in a bag or purse? Pick a spot for your pills’ new home where you know you can’t possibly miss them.
Set an alarm. Then set another alarm—just in case you miss the first one. Maybe you need to sleep in one morning or you go to bed early after an exhausting day. Alarms can be helpful and urging reminders during busy times to ensure you’re consistently taking your birth control pill within the same window of time daily.
Missing a pill can send your mind racing with worry about an unexpected pregnancy. Avenue Women’s Center offers an understanding and compassionate atmosphere to address your unique concerns. Contact us for a free medical-grade pregnancy test, accurate just 10 days after possible conception. Let Avenue care for you and help you through a nerve-wracking time.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG). (March, 2018) FAQ186, Progestin-Only Hormonal Birth Control: Pill and Injection. “What if I forget to take a pill?” Retrieved October 2018 from: https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Progestin-Only-Hormonal-Birth-Control-Pill-and-Injection#forget
- Mayo Clinic. (November, 2017) “Combination birth control pills.” Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/combination-birth-control-pills/about/pac-20385282
- Medical News Today. (August 17, 2018) “Can a person get pregnant while taking the pill?” Retrieved from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322799.php.
- The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (June, 2013) “Recommended Actions After Late or Missed Combined Oral Contraceptives.” Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/pdf/248124_fig_2_3_4_final_tag508.pdf
- Women’s Health. (July, 2017) Retrieved “Exactly What To Do If You Forget To Take Your Birth Control Pill.” from https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/a19907226/what-to-do-if-you-forget-to-take-your-birth-control-pill/
Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.
The information provided here is general in nature. It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention. Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.