Are you thinking of switching or starting birth control pills? Birth control pills contain two hormones – progestin and estrogen, which are referred to as combination pills. Majority of the combination pills come in 21-day or 28-day packs. You will not get pregnant as long as you take 1 pill each day. If you make a decision of taking the birth control pill, you need to find out when you can start. The various options are discussed here.

When to Start the Pill for Birth Control

It is recommended that you consult your physician on when to start the birth control pill. If your period starts on the day you have been told to start the pill, you can go ahead and start taking the pill. After starting taking your birth control pill, you will likely have your periods at around 25 days after that. It is important to take your pills at the same time every day, which is usually before breakfast or at bedtime.

You are required to begin each new birth control pill pack on the same day as you did on the previous week when it was started. But if you are taking the 21-day pack, you can begin the new pack 7 days after you have finished the old pill pack. Moreover, if you are taking the 28-day pack, you can begin the new pill pack after taking the placebo pills from the old pack. You are advised to follow the schedule mentioned above, whether you are on your period or not.

How to Start Your First Pack of Pills

You can begin taking first pack of pills in several ways. Discuss with your physician first while considering when to start the pill for birth control.

Normal Start

Quick start: Take your first pill when you receive the pack from the physician during your appointment. Take the second pill the next day. For the initial 7 days while you are taking the pills, use a backup method of birth control such as diaphragm or condom.

Sunday start: Take your first pill on a Sunday so that you don’t have periods on weekends. For the initial 7 days of pill usage, use a backup method of birth control such as a diaphragm or a condom.

Fifth-day start: Take your first pill on the fifth day of your period.

Daily routine of the pill: Birth control pills should be taken every day at around the same time of the day. To prevent pregnancy and stay on track, try these simple tricks:

  • Choose a time: Link up your “pill time” with something else you do every day, such as going to bed, brushing your teeth, or eating a meal.

  • Mark the days on your calendar: Mark those days on which you have to start new packs. You may cross off the day you have taken your pill.

  • Do a double check: Every morning, check your pack to ensure that you have taken yesterday’s pill. If you find that you have missed, take it right at that time.

Start After Pregnancy

When to start the pill after giving birth is an important concern for majority of the females because there are high chances of you getting pregnant again after giving birth. However, if you are required to take birth control pills after pregnancy, it is recommended that you take the combination pills after waiting for at least 3 weeks after giving birth vaginally. Additionally, you must wait for 6 weeks if you are breast feeding or you have increased blood clots. The risk of blood clots in females after pregnancy is increased if they are overweight, had heavy bleeding after delivery, have a history of blood clots, etc. You can start taking a combination pill after a miscarriage or an abortion. The progestin-only pill can be taken immediately after abortion, miscarriage or childbirth.

What Side Effects Should You Expect While Taking the Pill?

After discussing when to start the pill, let’s discuss some possible side effects that you may suffer while taking the pill. Taking the pill may result in some side effects. However, majority of the side effects subside within 2-3 months.

After beginning the pill, some females develop nausea, headaches, spotting between periods or sore breasts. The side effects usually go away after a couple of months. However, if you still have symptoms after a few months, discuss with your physician. They may recommend another brand or another method of birth control. Some females have to try some different brands of pills or birth control methods before they find the right one for them.

Your period may be changed by taking the pill. It may become lighter or you may not get a period, especially if you are taking the pill to skip your periods continuously. In such cases, though the chances of getting pregnant are very low if you have been regular in taking your pill but it is best to take a pregnancy test if you miss your period.


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