First of all, stop freaking out.
You missed a pill in your birth control pack, and you didn't remember until the day after.
You frantically Google, “missed a pill on my birth control, now what?”
Except Google pretty much freaks you out even more, prompting you to call your doctor for instructions.
Instructions on what?! On how to have a baby?!
Hell. F*cking. No. I can't do this.
Missing a pill in your birth control pack has to be one of the most terrifying experiences a human being can possibly endure.
According to Guttmacher Institute, 62 percent of all women of reproductive age are using a contraceptive method, the pill being the most commonly used method for over three decades now.
For women who do use the pill, about 23 percent are at risk of an unintended pregnancy.
So, in an effort to save women from the soul-crushing anxiety of a pregnancy scare, Elite Daily spoke with Planned Parenthood nurse practitioner and lead clinician, Sarah Wohlman, and fertility specialist of NYC Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, Dr. Jaime Knopmen.
These two women will give you the low-down on what happens, what to do, and what to expect when you miss a day, or two… or even three days worth of pills in your birth control pack.
Let us pray.
Can You Just Take The Missed Pill Once You Realize You Missed It?
Thankfully, according to both Wohlman and Knopmen, the answer is a whole-hearted "yes."
Take a deep breath, ladies. It's all going to be OK.
Can You Ever Skip It Completely And Move Onto The Next Pill In The Pack?
Wohlman tells Elite Daily,
[This is] not recommended. If you miss one pill, you take that pill as soon as you remember. If you don't realize until the next day that you missed one pill, you take that missed pill from yesterday and today's pill together.
Pills on pills on pills on pills.
Should You Ever Abandon That Pack And Wait Until The Next Month To Start A New One?
Wohlman recommends against this. She explains,
If you miss two pills you can double up for two days. If you miss more than three pills, it is recommended you use a backup form of birth control like condoms.
Plus, if you miss more than two pills, you may experience a withdrawal bleed, says Wohlman.
You should only start a new pack after you've missed three or more pills.
So. Much. Math. Do I need a freaking calculator for this?
What Happens To Your Body When You Miss One Pill And Have To Double Up?
Dr. Knopmen tells Elite Daily that, for most women, nothing will happen when you take a double dose of your birth control pills.
But there's a bit of an exception this rule.
However, in some cases, one missed pill can be the 'ammo' to the brain to start producing FSH and LH (two hormones that are responsible for initiating egg development and ovulation). Additionally, some women experience nausea due to the 'double dose' of hormones.
Wohlman supports this conclusion, adding that only "some women are more sensitive and experience nausea," though it's mostly rare.
Overall, What Are Your Chances Of Getting Pregnant Now?
According to Wohlman, missing one pill won't increase your chances of getting pregnant at all.
OK, I'm finally calming down a little bit.
Except Dr. Knopmen interrupted my very pleasant and reassuring sigh of relief (I know, I know, she's just trying to give me the facts).
With one missed pill, the risk only increases slightly. However, when the number of 'misses' goes above two, you are increasing your chances significantly and should use a barrier form of contraception.
Lord, help me.
What Are Some Other Contraceptive Options If The Pill Isn't Working Out?
Thankfully, it's 2017, and the world has blessed us with an absolute plethora of birth control options.
Dr. Knopmen tells Elite Daily,
The first thing we discuss with patients is, do you want to take a hormonal contraceptive, or a non-hormonal? If hormonal is right for you, there is the the ring, the IUD, and Depo-Provera. If non-hormonal suits your style, it can be condoms (female and male!), diaphragm, tubal ligation, or a vasectomy.
Uh, anyone else feel like a vasectomy may be a little much?
Still, there are even more choices to consider when it comes to your birth control.
Wohlman suggests looking into long-acting reversible contraception options (LARCS).
This includes Mirena and ParaGard, which are intrauterine devices that will protect against unintended pregnancy from five to seven years, depending on the type you choose.
There's also Nexplanon, which is a sub-dermal contraceptive implant that's inserted underneath the skin, usually on the arm.
According to Wohlman, these options are just as effective as birth control pills, but the bright side is that you don't have to remember to take them, they can last for several years, and they can be taken out whenever you want.
Sigh. I don't know about you, but this entire conversation, and the answers I received, sort of feel like they could serve as my birth control all on their own.
But all in all, the good news is, if you miss one pill, you're good.
If you miss more than one, you're still probably good, but the circumstances can vary.
Take the right precautions, and you won't be taking a trip to Babies"R"Us anytime soon.