How long does birth control take to work?

The instruction for contraceptive pills, creams, gels or ointments must contain information on how long do these medicines take to work. However, you should always remember that this criterion hinges on the time when you start taking the hormonal medicine and their type.

It is well-known that you can go on the combined birth control pill any day of the menstruation period. At the same time, it is better to start their administration from the very first day of the menstruation cycle. Note that the first day of menstruation is understood under the first day of the cycle. If so, you will not need to apply an additional birth control methods, like condom, cap or emergency pills, for these first seven days. Otherwise, it is better to apply such an additional method of birth control, for example, condoms.

If you began taking combination pills within 1-3 days after the 1st day of menstruation period, you’ll be absolutely protected from pregnancy without any additional contraception means, like condoms, caps or diaphragms, etc.

Women who started combining hormonal pills at any other time, must note they will need to take the tablet for up to 7 days before 100% protection from pregnancy will be achieved. So, as it was already said, other methods of birth control, if you have a sex during the first seven days on the pill, should be used. There is good news for those who choose progestin-only tablets: it is possible to initialize their admission on any day of the month. You will be absolutely protected from pregnancy after forty-eight hours from the first administration. It takes some time for mini pills to start working. That is why consider that using a condom during the first forty-eight hours after you start taking mini pills is mandatory. Please remember that if you do not take these pills on time (have a more than the 2-hour window), it is better to use additional contraceptives or avoid sex for at least 2-3 days. You may have health problems or fetal loss if you get pregnant while you are taking this kind of birth control pills.

There are also emergency birth control tablets, sometimes called “morning after pills”. Sometimes they have a form of gel or cream. These medicines are usually used by women who had an unexpected and unprotected sex without any means of contraception, like a condom or regular birth control tablets. As it is vivid from their name, they start working within 12 hours after administration. It is better to take them right after unprotected sex, it will decrease the risk of getting pregnant to the minimum.

Your gynecologist can assist you in defining the most suitable time for making start with your birth control pills (or other kinds of medicine), and explain when they will start working.

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