Oral contraceptive pills are birth control pills which contain synthetic hormones to prevent pregnancy. In certain cases, these pills are often prescribed for menstrual problems and acne. However, it is always advisable to consult your doctor on how to use oral contraceptive pills.
How to use Oral Contraceptive Pills
- Once you are sure you are not pregnant, you can start taking these pills anytime. You can take a combined pill (COC) during the first seven days of your menstrual periods or progesterone- only pills (POP) for the first five days. If COCs are taken after the seventh day of the periods or POPs after the fifth day, a backup contraceptive method should be used in the first month.
- Breastfeeding women can begin COCs at six months post-delivery as oestrogen can decrease breast milk production. POPs can be taken six weeks after delivery as they do not contain oestrogen.
- If you are not breastfeeding, you can take COCs three weeks after delivery. POPs can be taken immediately after the delivery.
- You can take oral contraceptive pills immediately after delivery. No other contraception is required if COCs are taken within seven days of abortion or POPs are taken within five days.
- You have to take pills everyday even if you are not having sex every day. A back-up contraceptive measure such as condoms should also be used.
- If one COC is missed, you should take it as soon as you remember. The next one has to be taken as per schedule. If you miss more than two COCs, you must take an active COC for the next seven days and also use back-up contraception.
- If you miss taking a POP, you should take it as soon as you remember and take the next one as per schedule, even if it means taking two pills in a day. A back-up contraceptive should be used for 48 hours.
- In case you want to discontinue or switch pills, it is safe to do so anytime. It is best to consult your doctor on how to use oral contraceptive pills or discontinue their use.
- For best results, you must take the pills at the same time every day.
Oral contraceptive pills are usually given in a regular pattern of 21 days of active pills followed by 7 days of placebo. In the recent years, new pills with shorter placebo time and more active pills are being used.
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