Types of Birth Control Pills and How to Use Them Correctly

Every woman should be adequately equipped with the correct information regarding their reproductive health. Birth control pills are one of the most common forms of contraception, but they can be intimidating for anyone who doesn’t know their way around them.

If you’re a first-time user of birth control pills, there are essential things you should know about. Ideally, your doctor will have gone over all of this with you, but if you need a refresher, this article will talk about birth control. Specifically, what the two main types are, how to properly take them, and what to do if you’ve missed one or more days of taking them. 

If you’re also struggling with keeping track of your pill intake, this article will provide you with more information on setting up effective birth control pill reminders. With that, here is all the information you need to know about birth control pills and their proper usage:

Types of Birth Control Pills

The two birth control pills are combination pills (COCs) and progestin-only pills (POPs). Combination pills contain two hormones, which are estrogen and progestin, and they’re the most common types of birth control pills on the market. The combination of the two hormones prevents your ovaries from releasing an egg. At the same time, your cervical mucus and uterine lining undergo changes that keep sperm out.

On the other hand, progestin-only pills contain only the progestin hormone. It’s an excellent alternative to COCs if your body can’t handle taking more estrogen. The medication works by causing your uterus’ lining to thin while your cervical mucus thickens, preventing sperm from meeting the egg your ovaries produce.

How to Take Combination Pills

The general usage of birth control pills is to take one every day. However, depending on the type of pill you use, there could be additional information regarding their usage. Combination pills are a lot less demanding when it comes to time requirements. For one, you don’t need to take a pill at the same hour.

Combination pills also come in different packs. There are twenty-one-day or twenty-eight-day packs. If you’re taking the latter, you’re supposed to consume one pill every day for twenty-eight days. 

The last seven pills in the box are hormone-free pills, which only contain iron or other supplements. Your period usually comes when you take these seven pills until you start a new pack on the twenty-ninth day. The twenty-one-day packs are similar to the twenty-eight-day ones, except you don’t take anything for seven days before starting a new box.

How to Take Progestin-Only Pills

Just like combination pills, you’re supposed to take one every day. If you opt for progestin-only pills, you have to be diligent about the time you take them. These pills require that you take them within the same three-hour window every day to be effective against pregnancy. If you miss it, your chances of getting pregnant are much more likely.

Progestin-only pills usually come in twenty-eight-day packs but, unlike combination pills, all twenty-eight pills contain hormones. You may or may not get your period on the fourth week that you’re taking pills. You could also experience spotting throughout the month or experience no bleeding at all.

What to Do If You Miss Taking a Pill

When you miss a pill, it’s always advisable to talk to your doctor to seek medical advice. However, the general rule of thumb is to take the pill you missed along with the one you have to drink for the day. This rule is only applicable if you’ve missed one pill. If you’ve missed two or more pills, it’s highly recommended to ask your doctor for their advice.

If you notice that you regularly forget to take your birth control, you can set up alarms on your phone to remind you to take your pills. Another option is to use a medication management app. These apps can log all your medication information and remind you to take your birth control at the same hour every day. It’s an easy way to stay on top of your routine.


It’s important to equip yourself with the correct information regarding your reproductive health. Birth control pills are one of the most typical options when preventing pregnancy, but because you have to take them every day, they can also be one of the most difficult ones to track. Fortunately, medication management apps are useful for monitoring your pill intake.

If you need help setting reminders to take your birth control pill, My Medication Log introduces MedManage, the perfect app to keep track of taking pills. Contact us today for more information!

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