birth control pills

Medication Calendar: When to Take Birth Control Pills

If you’re thinking about or are already taking birth control pills, you’re not alone in using this as a contraceptive. In fact, it’s the first choice of many American women. The pill is among the most reliable solutions to avoiding unplanned pregnancies. 

Hormonal birth control pills prevent pregnancies about 99.7% of the time. That means that in 1,000 women, only three will get pregnant in a given year. However, the condition is that you never skip a dose and take the pills right on time every time. If not, you run the risk of accidental pregnancies, which is 90 out of 1,000 women.

3 Ways to Take Your First Pill

Your doctor will generally check that you are eligible to take the pill. Part of it is taking your blood pressure and ensuring you have no sexually transmitted diseases if you’ve had sex before. They may also issue a complete gynecological exam, but it depends on the circumstances. Once you’re cleared, your doctor will write out a prescription.

Here are three ways to get on the pill:

  1. On the Day of Your Period: You can take your first pill on the first day of your period. You will no longer need a backup contraceptive since pregnancy protection will kick in instantly. 
  2. Right Away: you can take your first pill in your pack right away, as long as your doctor has already confirmed that you are not pregnant. Beware, however, that a pregnancy test might result in a false negative early in a pregnancy. Moreover, you might need a backup contraceptive, such as a condom, for seven days after taking your first pill since the hormones in the pills will need time to build up in your body. Of all three options, this is the least recommended.
  3. Sunday Start: Many contraceptive pill packs are arranged weekly, beginning Sunday. You can take the first pill on the first Sunday after your period begins. Still, you should use a second birth control method, such as a condom, for seven days if you have sex.

How to Take the Pill

You need to take the pill at the same time every day, which is especially important if you’re on the progestin-only mini pill. This pill has a smaller margin for error compared to regular pills that contain both estrogen and progestin. 

It can help remind you to take the pill by setting the alarm on your phone or posting a calendar on your fridge as a reminder. However, using a birth control reminder app is your best option. 

As you finish a packet, begin taking the first pill in a new packet the next day. Several medications, such as the antibiotic rifampin and the herb St. John’s wort, can interact with birth control pills, so a backup contraceptive isn’t recommended.


Birth control pills work well in preventing unwanted pregnancies. However, its effectiveness depends on the person taking them and how consistent they are in sticking to their pill schedule. Taking the pill on time is vital to keep your hormone level where they need to be to block conception.

If you missed the pill in the first week of your pack or had unprotected sex, check with your doctor about whether you need emergency contraception.

MedManage is a cloud-based medication management system for patients. It allows common tasks that are often done manually or from memory, such as managing multiple medications and maintaining a daily medication log, to be done in the digital world. With MedManage, remembering when to take your contraceptive pill and never missing a dose is a breeze. So, if you’re looking for a birth control reminder app, MedManage has you covered! Download our app now!

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