How to Use Birth Control Pills

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Types of Birth Control Pills

There are two main types of birth control pills: those with 21 pills and those with 28 pills.

🔹21 Pills:

With this type, you take one pill every day for 21 days. After completing these 21 pills, you take a 7-day break. During this break, you will likely experience withdrawal bleeding, similar to a period. After the 7-day break, you start a new pack, whether you're still bleeding or not.

🔹28 Pills:

These packs contain 28 pills, with no break in between packs. You take one pill every day, including during your period. This type is convenient as it doesn't require a break.

Initiating Birth Control Pills

For first-time users, the initial dose can be taken either on the first day of your period or within the following days (day 2 to day 5). Remember, for the contraceptive effect to be fully established, consistent pill intake for 7 days is crucial. It's advised to use additional contraceptive methods during this period if you engage in sexual activity.

Consistency is Key

It's crucial to take your birth control pills at the same time every day. This establishes a routine and maximizes their effectiveness. Choose a time that you can easily remember, like when you brush your teeth in the morning or before going to bed. Irregular or missed doses can reduce the contraceptive effect.

Missed Doses: What to Do?

If you miss taking a pill, follow these steps:

🔹Within 12 Hours:

Take the missed pill immediately and continue with your regular schedule.

🔹After 12 Hours:

Skip the dose you missed. However, you will need to take two pills at your next dose.

Please note: It's important to use additional contraceptive methods for the next 7 days, and if there is no expected menstrual bleeding during the period week, it’s necessary to do a pregnancy test.

What are the side effects?

While birth control pills are generally safe, they can sometimes cause mild side effects, including:

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Stomach discomfort
  • Intermenstrual spotting

These symptoms usually improve within three weeks. However, if they persist or escalate into severe abdominal or chest pain, it is advisable to seek medical attention promptly.


Birth control pills are an effective means of contraception when used correctly. By understanding the different types of pills, initiating usage properly, maintaining consistency, and knowing how to handle missed doses, you can confidently manage your contraception. Always consult with your healthcare provider for personalized advice and to address any concerns you may have.

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