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How important is it to take the pill at the exact same time every day? I take it every night, but sometimes there’s a difference in 3 hours at the time I take it from night to night. Will it still be effective as long as I take it every night?

It depends on what kind of pill you’re taking. If you’re taking a combination pill — which contains the hormones estrogen and progestin — you’re protected against pregnancy as long as you take your pill each day. It doesn’t matter what time you take it (although taking it at the same time every day can help you remember your pill). Most birth control pills are combination pills.

If you’re taking progestin-only pills (which only contain progestin and not estrogen),  you must take a pill at the same time each day within a 3-hour window. (For example, if you’ve been taking your pill at noon, and you take it later than 3:00 p.m., you should use a backup method like a condom until you’ve been back on track for 48 hours (2 days). 

Take this quiz to see what to do if you forget a pill.

Tags: birth control, the pill