Forgetting to take the pill can lead to pregnancy
- According to the Department of Health, approximately 190,000 terminations of pregnancy were carried out in the UK in 2009.
- Missed pill rules differ for individual preparations, so you must check with your GP or family planning clinic if you are unsure about what to do as you may require emergency contraception.
- Remember your pill will not be as effective and you may require additional contraception if:
- you have diarrhea
- you are vomiting
- you are taking certain medications
- you are prescribed antibiotics (COCP only)
Combined oral-contraceptive pill (COCP)
- Generally speaking, you have a 12 hour window to take your COCP.
- According to the strength of your pill, you may be able to miss more than one pill without requiring emergency or additional contraception - your GP or family planning clinic will be able to advise you further on this
- Please note that the below rules do not apply if you are taking the combined pill "Qlaira"
Where are you in your pack?
- If you have missed or forgotten a pill in the middle of your pack, then take the missed pill immediately and continue the pack as usual. You do not need additional or emergency contraception.
- If you are late starting your pack, you may need emergency contraception so speak to your GP or family planning clinic.
How many pills are left in your pack?
- If there are less than 7 pills remaining in your pack, continue straight onto the next pack without having a seven-day break.
- If there are more than 7 pills left in your pack, continue as normal with the pack and have your usual seven-day break.
You can find an easy-to-follow flowchart from the Family Planning Association website:
The progesterone-only pill (POP)
- You have a 3 hour window to take your POP (12 hours if you taking cerazette)
- If you are less than 3 hours late (12 hours if you taking cerazette), then take your pill as soon as you remember and continue as normal. You do not need additional or emergency contraception.
- If you are more than 3 hours late (12 hours if you taking cerazette), then:
- take your pill as soon as you remember
- take the next pill at the usual time (this may be the same day)
- You are not protected against pregnancy and so will require additional contraception (for example, condoms) for 2 days
For more information, please see the Family Planning Association website at:
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