This might be the question every person with a uterus who begins taking the birth control pill has. The good news is, because there are so many different variations of the pill, you can pick and choose which one is right for you — and then determine how strict your schedule for taking it has to be!

Before we get started, be sure to sign up for a telemedicine consultation so Pandia’s team of doctors can help you select the birth control method that is right for you! Let’s get that Pandia peace of mind 😌

Types of Birth Control Pills

On the regular combination pill which contains both estrogen and progestin, you have a 3 to 5 hour leeway period meaning you don’t have to take it at exactly the same time everyday. That being said, it is smart to get it as close to the same time as possible to increase the effectiveness of the pill!

The main reason a combination birth control pill is the best kind is because most people live very busy lives and it’s difficult to take the pill at the same time everyday. If you take the pill everyday at the same time, there is a 1% chance you will get pregnant and this number only increases if you miss your pill.  

That’s why it’s best to start taking birth control pills as soon as you get them — any day of the week and anytime during your period. But, protection against pregnancy largely depends on when you start and the kind of pill you’re using; it’s smart to use a backup method like condoms for up to the first 7 days.

Now, how do you know when to take the pill when you’re traveling between different time zones. For instance, if you’re flying from California to New York and you normally take your birth control at 9pm PST, you can still take it at 9pm EST because you have a three hour window. But, if you’re journeying farther, like the UK, you would take it at 5am GMT.

Check out this piece — and the rest of the Pandia blog — for tips on birth control pills — just set it and forget it!

Every 24 Hours

On the other hand, if you are on the progestin-only pill, you must take it everyday at the same time! If you miss it, you have to use a backup method if you are sexually active for the next five days; you may even want to get some emergency contraception to be safe. Because it’s pretty hard to adhere to this strict schedule everyday, Pandia doctors don’t usually recommend this contraceptive pill.

Read here about the differences between low-dose birth control and other hormonal contraceptives!

The main thing to remember is to take one pill every 24 hours (or less than 24 hours) — after all, you can always take more birth control pills but you can never take less! If you’re curious about which pill to be on, watch Pandia’s video explaining the pros and cons of both! Be sure to watch our other videos and subscribe to our YouTube channel while you’re at it! 

The above information is for general informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your doctor/primary care provider before starting or changing treatment.