Birth control pills usually come in packs.The most common and familiar type has three weeks of hormone pills. Some of the birth control pill packs will contain sugar pills for the fourth week. At this stage or during this fourth no-hormone week, you will have your menstrual period, and then after the fourth week, i.e., 28 days, you will begin a new pack. Some of these  birth control pills are packaged in such a way that you have to take the hormone pills for a period of time continuously. With this kind of pills, you may not have your monthly period, or you may have or experience a period after a couple of months.

When to Start the Pill for Birth Control

It’s advisable that you ask or consult your doctor on when to start the pill for birth control. In case you get a period on the day you have been instructed to start, you can go ahead and start the birth control pill pack. After starting the pill pack, you will mostly have your period at about 25 days after you begin your pill pack.  Most importantly, you should take your pills probably at the same time each and every day, usually at bedtime or before breakfast.

You are supposed to start each new birth control pill pack on the same day as the previous week when you started it. However, if you are using the 21-day pack, you can start the new pack 7 days after you are through with the old pill pack. In addition, if you are using the 28-day pack,you can start the new pill pack after taking the old pack’s placebo pill. You are supposed to follow the schedule stated above, whether you are on your period or not.

How to Start Birth Control Pills

As it has been discussed earlier, birth control pills come in packs and are varied in hormone. Some of these pills are also packaged in case that you have to take them continuously for a period of time.

1. A Normal Start

  1. a) Start taking the birth control pills

There are many ways of how to start taking your birth control pills, but before you begin, you are supposed to consult your doctor about when to start taking them. Here are some of the ways:

  • Quick start. You can take the first pill soon after you get the pack from the doctor during your medical appointment, and then you can take the next pill on the second day. However, during your seven days of pills, you can use a back up birth control method, i.e. condom or diaphragm.
  • Sunday start. It’s good to start your pack on a Sunday so that you can avoid having your period on weekends. However, a backup control method is also required as well during seven days of the pills.
  • Fifth day start. You can take your first pill on the fifth day of your menstrual cycle.
  1. b) Make a daily routine

It’s good to take your pill every day at exactly the same time, and here are a few tricks to help you keep on track in preventing pregnancy:

  • Pick or choose a specific time. You can link up your “pill time” with something like brushing your teeth, going to bed or eating a meal.
  • Use your calendar. Try to mark the day you will start your new pill packs and even more, you can cross off each day that you take a pill.
  • Check gain. Every day when you take the pill, ensure that you check if you took yesterday’s pill. If you realize you actually missed yesterday’s pill, take it right away.

2. Start after Pregnancy

Starting or taking birth control pills after pregnancy is such an important concern for most women since there are chances that you can be pregnant again soon after you have given birth. However, if you have to take birth control pills shortly after your pregnancy,it’s advisable to start taking the combination pills after waiting for at least 3 weeks after giving birth vaginally. In addition, you can wait for about 6 weeks if you have increased blood clots or you are nursing. Most women will be at higher risk of blood clot if:

  • they are obese.
  • they had a heavy bleeding after giving birth or delivery.
  • they are over the age of 35 years.
  • they had a caesarian section.
  • they had pre-eclampsia.
  • have a history of the condition before or in the past.
  • they have inherited blood clotting characteristics or disorders.
  • it’s within the family, where some of the family members have had it.
  • they need prolonged or extended bed rest.
  • they smoke.
  • they received a blood transfusion during delivery.

You can begin using a combination pill after an abortion or a miscarriage. The progestin-only pill can be used right after miscarriage, abortion or childbirth.

Want to learn how to safely start and when to start the pill for birth control with the help of a certified nurse midwife? Check out the video:

3. Tips on Taking Birth Control Pills

Below are some tips that you can consider in regard to taking birth control pills:

  • Make sure that you have another form of birth control with you all the time, in case you forget to take your pill.
  • Always carry your pills if you don’t spend the night at the same place.
  • Get refills earlier, soon after you begin your last prescription; don’t wait for the last minute.
  • Lastly, birth control pills, vaginal rings and patches are all medications, so be sure to tell your doctor that you are on the pills, patch or even a vaginal ring if you visit him or her for any reason.
  • Take the pills at about the same time each day, for instance, if you are using a patch, replace it weekly at the same day, and if you are using vaginal ring, remove it after every 3 weeks of use.

Frequently Asked Questions about Birth Control Pills

1. Who Can Take Birth Control Pills?

Birth control pills are safe and are taken by most women, but they are not recommended for women above the age of 35 and who smoke. However,you can use hormonal contraceptives even up to menopause if you don’t engage yourself in smoking. Caution should be taken especially in cases where you are not supposed to use them, for instance, if you had:

  • blood clots in the lungs, legs and arms.
  • severe heart or liver disease.
  • cancer of the uterus or breast.

You can consult your doctor if you are not sure of any of this condition and also inform the doctor of any history of blood clot in your family.

2. How Long Do Birth Control Pills Take to Work?

When you start taking them, birth control pills are usually effective in the first month if taken according to directions. However, some doctors will recommend that you have other birth control besides pills, i.e. condoms and foam, especially during the first month after which you can rely on the pills alone.

3. What If I Missed a Birth Control Pill?

Make sure you take it the moment you remember in case if you had forgotten.  If you skip two days, then you have to take two pills for that day and the next day too. Any time you forget to take the pill, it’s advisable that you use another form of birth control together with the pill until you finish the pack. However, if you forget any of the last 7 out of the 28 days pills, chances of pregnancy will not raise since they are just placebo pills. If you miss your period and you have forgotten to take your pill, you should see a doctor for a pregnancy test.

4.      Are There Any Side Effects in Regard to Birth Control Pills?

Of course, there are some side effects, but most of them are mild. They include:

  • nausea.
  • mood changes.
  • soreness or swelling breasts.
  • spotting in between periods.
  • periods may become lighter.
  • weight gain.

However, if you experience the following conditions or symptoms, you should see the doctor urgently, including:

  • abdominal pain.
  • chest pain.
  • severe headaches.
  • eye problems, i.e. blurred vision.
  • swelling or aching in the thighs and legs.

5. Can I Use Other Drugs While Using the Birth Control Pills?

Some of the drugs can reduce the effectiveness of the birth control pills, i.e. antibiotics. You should tell your doctor all the medications that you are taking when you visit him or her.