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Are You Making These Contraceptive Mistakes?

October 31, 2020
In the U.S., half of all pregnancies are unintended. Yet contraceptives have effectiveness rates that range from nearly 100 percent to about 70 percent, depending on the chosen method.

Nearly 99 percent of women aged 15 to 44 have used a birth-control method at least once. Sixty-two percent of all women of reproductive age currently use contraceptives. And 11 percent of women who are at risk of pregnancy don’t use any birth control at all. The pill and sterilization are the two most common forms of contraceptives since 1982.

Then there are those incidences where birth control’s efficacy is eroded due to certain situations. The following are common mistakes women and men make while trying to prevent pregnancy.

  • When first starting on a hormone-based oral contraceptive, some doctors recommend that you use another form of contraceptive such as condoms for a month after starting the pill.
  • If you use the most commonly prescribed combination of hormonal contraceptives – estrogen and progestin pills – did you know that missing three or more days will get you in trouble if you don’t address the situation correctly? You are OK to restart pills after missing a couple of doses, but for the first seven days, it is highly recommended that you use another form of birth control, like condoms, because the pill may not be effective.
  • If you forget to take the pill for a day, take two pills the next day. If you miss two days, take two pills for the next two days. You will be back on schedule. If you miss more than two days, see above.  
  • Progestin-only pills have to be taken at the same time of day every day. With this pill, if you take the pill even three hours late, you must use another form of birth control for the next 48 hours.