How do I start the combination pill?
- Quick start: Start your first pill right away during any point of your cycle if you are sure you are not pregnant. Use condoms or back up for the first 7 days to prevent pregnancy.
- Period Start: Start your pill on the first day of your next period. If you start your pill within the first 5 days of your period, you are protected right away.
- Sunday Start: Start your pill on the first Sunday after your next period starts – use a backup method (like condoms) for at least 7 days.
*Birth control pills do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and you should always use a condom if you are not 100% sure of your partner’s STI status.
I started my combination pill - now what?
You must take one pill per day at the same time every day to maximize the effectiveness of your pill (tip: set a daily alarm on your phone to remind you). After a couple of months on your new pills, most people get their period during the inactive pills (the last row of your pill pack). Start your new pack the day after you take your last inactive pill in the pack.
To learn more about starting your birth control watch this video of Nurx NP Cristin Hackel explaining what you need to know.
How effective is the pill?
The pill, patch, and ring are about 99% effective with perfect use. With typical use, they are about 91% effective. That means if there are 100 people using a method, about 9 will get pregnant yearly. It is important to pick a method that works best for you in terms of remembering to use it. For many people, it is easier to remember to change a ring once monthly rather than take a pill daily.
How do I skip periods on the pill?
It’s simple: If you are using combination birth control pills that are packaged a month at a time you can prevent your period by skipping the placebo pills in the pack and starting the active pills of the next pack the next day. Just throw away those placebos and start your next pack. If you are using the extended cycle pack of pills, like Amethia, it is already packaged so you’ll have a period every three months. Some people do experience irregular bleeding when they use this type of pill package but with time, it will go away.
Pills with “TRI” in the name, also called triphasic pills, are those that contain different amounts of hormones in different weeks and this type of pill does not work well for period skipping.