Info For Teens
Ask the Experts
Does taking a birth control pill unintentionally out of order have an affect on anything as long as you take the pill?
It depends on what kind of pill you’re taking. Most combination pills — pills that contain both estrogen and progestin — come in 28-day or 21-day packs. Both these packs contain 21 “active” pills that contain hormones, but 28-day packs also contain seven inactive pills, called “reminder pills.” Taking a pill out of order only matters if you use a 28-day combination pill pack, and you took an inactive pill instead of an active one.
If you took an inactive pill when you should have taken an active one, it’s the same as skipping a pill. You should take your active pill as soon as you remember, and then take your next pill at the usual time. This might mean you take two pills in one day. It’s possible to become pregnant if you have vaginal intercourse during the seven days after a missed pill, so use a backup birth control method — such as a condom — for a week.
If you have vaginal sex before you realize you missed an active pill, you can use emergency contraception as backup. Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy if started up to five days after unprotected sex, so the sooner you start it, the better it will work.