You know that feeling of momentary panic when you realize you forgot to take your birth control pill? It’s like when you lose your wallet, keys, or phone but the consequence is potentially getting pregnant instead of having to call up your insurance to replace all your cards and phone numbers. The good news is, you have some leeway if you happen to miss a pill — be sure to read on so you know what to do when this happens and how to get back on track! 

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Let’s say you miss five days of taking the birth control pill in a row — you’ve basically approximated the placebo week; depending on the pack you have, the week with the sugar pills can be anywhere between three to six days. This is not a problem if you’ve already taken three weeks of the active pills because they’re still working to prevent pregnancy.

BUT if you’re only on the first or second week (or haven’t finished the third) and you haven’t taken the pill five days in a row, it’s best to use a backup method such as condoms if you are sexually active. This is especially important if you plan on having sex in the following five days; plus, if you had sex in the previous five days, it’s smart to take emergency contraception just to be safe.


Keep in mind that the effects of missing a few pills may also depend on what type of birth control pill you are on such as a monophasic or triphasic pill. Plus, the reasoning behind your skipping the pills five days in a row doesn’t necessarily matter — whether you lost one or a few, you forgot, or you simply did not want to — as long as you restart your birth control to continue preventing pregnancy, regulating periods, and reducing acne.

Birth control keeps your hormone levels up for those three weeks that you are on the pill (plus an extra week if you skip the placebo pills that can prevent you from menstruating). If those levels drop, meaning you take the sugar pills or miss three pills in a row, then you will get your period.

Want to know which birth control method is right for you? Talk to one of our expert doctors to learn about birth control delivery, period optional, and reproductive health.

Wondering how to bounce back from missing those days of active pills? Simply restart the week of active pills on the sixth day — whether or not you are still bleeding. Back in the day, birth control pills contained 10 micrograms of hormones whereas today they’re down to 20-35 micrograms; the week of the sugar pills were built for seven days but it’s possible that you could pop out an egg of day six or seven. That’s not good for preventing pregnancy! So, restart your pill pack on day six.

Skip Your Period with Placebo Pills

It’s probably best to skip the placebo week and start the next week of active pills rather than taking the sugar pills during the fourth week. Why? Well, this way, you’re never fully off the pills so it helps you set a rhythm for taking them. Plus, the fewer times you’re off the sugar pills, the lower your risk of pregnancy. 

Now you know what happens when you miss a pill and how to make sure that your birth control still works! Sign up today to determine which contraceptive method is best for you through Pandia — the most trusted provider for birth control delivery.

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.