Forgetting to take a birth control pill can be the cause of extreme stress. You immediately begin wondering if you are pregnant and searching for signs that you are not. When you do get your period, you breathe a big sigh of relief–until someone tells you that you can still have a period and be pregnant. Knowing what the risk is of forgetting a pill and being pregnant even after getting a period can put your mind at ease.
Birth control pills made their debut in America in the 1960s. By 1963, 2.5 million American women were taking the pill as their form of birth control, according to the PBS website. Typically, birth control pills use a combination of hormones to stop your body from ovulating. The most commonly used hormones in birth control pills are estrogen and progesterone.
You cannot get pregnant if you don’t drop an egg from your ovary into your uterus. In addition, according to the Teen Health website, some birth control pills create changes in your cervix lining that prevent sperm from getting through and inseminating a rogue egg that may have escaped and gotten into the uterus.
Birth control pills come in 21-day packs and 28-day packs. Each pack has 21 pills containing hormones. The 28-day pack includes seven non-hormone filled pills to take during the fourth week so you do not get out of the habit of taking a daily pill. There is also a mini-pill that contains a low dose of progesterone and is taken daily year round, preventing periods. It must be taken at the same time each day, or it will not be effective.
Risks of Pregnancy
The effectiveness of most birth control pills is more than 99 percent, according to the Mayo Clinic. Pills must be taken on a daily basis, however, to maintain their effective treatment against conception. Missing pills can carry serious consequences. If you miss a day, doctors advise that you take it as soon as possible even if it means taking two in one day. According to the Teens Health Website, you should also use another form of birth control in addition to the pill for 48 hours after missing that dose.
This is to strengthen the pill’s effectiveness while your body builds it in your system again. If you forget to take one of the mini-progesterone pills, you are at risk for pregnancy three hours after the missed dose. It is important to use back-up methods of birth control for several days after you miss a mini-pill.
If you forget to take a pill but get back on track and go on to have a period, the chance that you are pregnant is small, but it could happen. The bleeding you experience may not be a real period. Instead, it may be the breakthrough implantation bleeding that is common during the first few weeks after conception. Implantation bleeding occurs when the fertilized egg implants itself into your womb. A small amount of blood is released, though it is usually dark brown or black in color. Because it only takes one missed pill, or in the case of the mini-pill, three missed hours, it is possible to get pregnant after forgetting to take a pill, even if you have what appears to be a period during that month.
It is important to take your birth control pills every day. If you miss one, it is important to immediately choose a back-up method of birth control and use it for several days, following the day you missed your pill. Missing more than one pill in a month warrants using back-up birth control for the remainder of the month, according to the Planned Parenthood website.
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