November 22, 2017

Q & A: Does A Gap In My Pill Schedule Really Matter?

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Whoops, ran out ...

Whoops, ran out ...

Q: I have been taking contraception for over a year, but I ran out of pills and have been having unprotected sex for 2 weeks. Is it safe to go straight back on to my pill?

A: There’s no reason you cannot go back on your pill, assuming your prescription is current and you have your healthcare provider’s green light to still be taking birth control pills. Of course, if you have any questions about your personal health or if something has changed about your personal health or symptoms, we recommend speaking with a nurse or doctor.

It’s not clear why you are having unprotected sex, though. If you are trying to avoid becoming pregnant (which I would guess is true, since you have been on the pill for more than a year and want to go back on the pill), then having unprotected sex is not wise. Unprotected sex puts people at risk of pregnancy.

Have you told your sexual partner(s) that you are no longer taking birth control pills and thus could become pregnant? These are important conversations to have so that your sexual partner(s) are fully informed about the risks that they are taking. Having unprotected sex doesn’t just affect you; if you become pregnant, then it also affects your sexual partner(s) who may or may not feel ready to consider options related to abortion, adoption, or parenting. And if you become pregnant, and choose to have a baby, then it also affects that child.

If you wish to minimize the risk of pregnancy, I’d suggest using condoms until you are back on your birth control pill for long enough to feel confident that you are largely protected from pregnancy. How long this will take can vary based on when in your cycle you start the pill and the kind of pill you are taking, so ask your nurse, doctor, or a pharmacist for additional information. To learn more about pregnancy risk and contraception, visit the Planned Parenthood web site.



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