Birth Control Pill Instructions
- To start your first package of birth control pills, begin taking your
pills on the Sunday following the first day of your menstrual period, even if you are still on your period. If your period begins on Sunday and you are sure it is a normal period, take your first pill on that
day. There are 28 pills in your package, so you will take your last pill on Saturday and begin a new pack the very next day on Sunday.
- Take your pills in order, one pill a day at the same time each day to keep the hormones at the same level. You might find it helpful to associate taking your pill with something else you do at the same
time every day, like eating a meal or brushing your teeth.
- When you first start taking birth control pills, you are not protected from pregnancy until you have taken 2 weeks of pills. Therefore, for the first 2 weeks, you should use a backup method of birth control (foam and condoms, or condoms and sponges), or you should abstain from having intercourse.
- While you are taking birth control pills, you might find that your period is lighter, somewhat different in color, or shorter in the number of days.
- Severe diarrhea, vomiting, and some prescription medications might change the effectiveness of your birth control pills. If you experience one of these conditions and have breakthrough bleeding, you may not be protected from pregnancy. Use a backup method of birth control until your next period.
- Remember that birth control pills are a prescription medication. If you are hospitalized or seen by a doctor, you need to be sure they are aware that you are taking birth control pills.
- You must learn the following pill danger signs:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Severe chest pain or shortness of breath
- Severe headaches
- Severe leg pain in the calf or thigh
- Eye problems (blurred vision or blindness)
If you experience any of these symptoms, do not ignore them! You need to call your physician immediately or go to the nearest hospital emergency room. Women who smoke are at a greater risk of experiencing one of the above symptoms. If you choose to take pills as your method of birth control, you should not smoke.
What to do if...
I have bleeding or spotting between my periods?
This condition is called breakthrough bleeding. It is not serious and might occur while you are taking your first few package of pills.
I feel nauseated after taking my pills?
Sometimes people experience nausea if they take pills on an empty stomach. You might want to change your schedule to take your pill with a meal or to eat a snack when you take your pill.
I miss a period?
If you have taken a pill at the same time every day and you miss a period, DO NOT WORRY. This might happen from time to time. However, if you have not taken your pills at the same time each day or if you miss TWO periods, call to make arrangements for a pregnancy test and pelvic examination.
I miss two pills in a row during the first two weeks?
Take two pills on the day you remember, and take two pills again the next day. Then take one pill per day until the pack is finished. Use a backup method of contraception (preferable condoms plus foam) until the package is finished.