How Do I Start Birth Control Pills?
Women used to be told that they could only start the pill on the first day of their period or on the first Sunday after the start of their period. We now know that it’s also perfectly fine to start the pill on any day of the month. Talk with your health care provider about what day is best for you to start taking the pill.
You may start the combination pill at any time. If you start within five days after the start of your period, you are protected against pregnancy right away. You will not need to use a backup method of birth control. That means that if your period starts on a Wednesday morning, you can start the pill up to Monday morning to be protected right away. If you start at any other time during your menstrual cycle, you will be protected from pregnancy after seven days. Use another method of birth control — like a condom, female condom, diaphragm, or sponge — if you have vaginal intercourse during the first week of use.
You may start the progestin-only pill at any time. Use another method of birth control if you have vaginal intercourse during the first 48 hours of progestin-pill use — protection will begin after two days.
Taking the progestin-only pill at the same time each day is essential. If you take it more than three hours past the regular time, you need to use a backup method of birth control for 48 hours after taking the late pill.
Starting the Pill After Pregnancy
It’s possible to get pregnant again shortly after being pregnant. Starting birth control after pregnancy is an important concern for many women. And many of these women choose the pill.
You can start taking the combination pill after waiting at least three weeks after giving birth vaginally. You should wait at least six weeks after birth if you are nursing or if you have an increased risk of blood clots. Women have a higher risk of blood clots if they
- are obese
- are over age 35
- had a cesarean section (C-section)
- had heavy bleeding after delivery
- had preeclampsia
- have certain inherited blood clotting disorders
- have had blood clots in the past
- have a close family member who has had blood clots
- need prolonged bed rest
- received a blood transfusion at delivery
You can start using the combination pill right after an abortion or miscarriage.
You can start taking the progestin-only pill right after an abortion, miscarriage, or childbirth.
Breastfeeding and Birth Control Pills
Progestin-only pills will not affect your milk during nursing.
You should wait to start using combination pills if you are nursing because they may reduce the amount and quality of milk in the first six weeks of breastfeeding.
Breast milk will contain traces of the pill's hormones. It is unlikely that these hormones will have any effect on your child. But talk with a health care provider about what birth control methods might be right for you after giving birth.