I forgot to take my birth control yesterday. What do I do?
Great question! First of all, don’t panic. It is totally normal to forget taking a pill!
The answer depends on where in your pill pack you are. If it was a pill in the first week of a new pack, take the missing pill as soon as you remember, and use a backup method like a condom every time you have sex for the next seven days.
If it’s in the next two weeks of the pack, and it’s been less than 24 hours since you were supposed to take the pill — for example, you usually take it at night, you forgot, and it’s now the morning — go ahead and take the pill you missed, and take your next pill at your usual time. You might want to eat something to avoid your stomach getting upset from taking two pills in one day. If you do this, you should be fine to have sex without a backup method.
If it’s in the final week of your pack (the different-colored pills), don’t worry. There aren’t actually any hormones in those pills — they’re just there to keep you on schedule. Just take your next pill on time and you’ll be fine.
A good tip for remembering to take your pill is taking it while you are doing something you do every day, like brushing your teeth. You can also set an alert on your phone as a reminder!
If you keep forgetting your pills, though, it might be a good idea to look into a longer-lasting method of birth control, like the ring, patch, or IUD.
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At the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, we answer a lot of questions. Topics range from nutrition to pregnancy prevention, and everything in between. Now, we’re bringing these questions back to you with our new weekly advice column, You Asked It. Got a question? Holler at us in the comments, send us a message on Facebook or Twitter, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.