Your pack contains two different types of pills. The first 21 pills are the hormone pills. The last seven pills don’t contain hormones. These are known as “sugar pills”. The pills are different coloured, making it easier for you to tell them apart. Also, the sugar pills are the last 7 in the pack.
Taking the pill is easy. Pop one pill from your pack each day and swallow it with a glass of water. The pill must be taken each day for it to be effective. It is best to take it at the same time each day, to help you form a habit of taking it every day.
Once you finish the 21 hormone pills, you can either start on your next pack or take the seven sugar pills.
If you start on your next pack, continue taking the hormone pills (the first 21). Jumping to the next pack is referred to as “running your packs”. You won’t get your period if you don’t take the sugar pills. It is very safe to do this. In fact, running your packs makes the pill more effective. The sugar pills are just there to keep you in the habit of taking a pill each day while you have your period.
If you do take the sugar pills, you will get your period. Once you have finished the seven sugar pills start on your next pack with the hormone pills.
You can take the pill however it works best for you. If you decide to take the sugar pills that is fine. f you choose not to take the sugar pills that is also fine. Choosing whether to get your period or not is up to you. On the pill you don’t have to have your period every 21 days.
Remembering to take your pill each day can be difficult to start with. If you are taking the combined pill, it is best to make it a habit to take it at the same time each day. If you are taking the mini pill, you need to take it within the same three hours each day.
You can have sex as soon as you feel ready after starting on the pill. But depending on where you are in your cycle you may need to use contraception for a little longer.
If you take the pill within the first 5 days of your period, you are protected straight away.
If you start the pill at any other time during your cycle, you are not protected for the first 7 days. Use another form of contraception for the first week will help prevent pregnancy.
As soon as you stop taking the pill, or if you skip a day, you are no longer protected.
The pill is a great form of contraception, but it doesn’t protect you from STIs. Only condoms can protect against STI’s.
It is safe to take the pill or mini pill at any time. Once you decide the pill is no longer for you, whatever the reason may be, you can stop taking it straight away. Remember that you will no longer be protected once you miss a day.
As soon as you stop taking the pill, your body and fertility will return to normal almost straight away. You are likely to get your next period within a few days of stopping the pill. After your first period, your body will return to its natural cycle.