I took two birth control pills in a day -- What now?

Originally Published: February 13, 2004
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Dear Alice,

I took two birth control pills in one day 'cause I forgot that I had already taken one that day. Do I still take one tonight even though I'll be ahead one day?

Dear Reader,

Not to worry. Accidentally popping a second pill is a common slip and fortunately one that has few consequences. You might have felt a little nauseated the day you doubled up, particularly if you've found yourself to be sensitive to the hormones in birth control pills, but the feeling soon passes.

As far as getting back on schedule, you can pick right back up and take a pill the next day, even though you'll be a day ahead. Some types of pills are only effective if taken every 24 hours, so be sure to take one within that time period. As an extra precaution, you might consider using a backup method of protection, such as a condom, for at least a week after the slip.

Also, some of these ideas below may help keep you on track:

  • Leave the birth control pills in their original case. While a sandwich bag might be a more compact and convenient way to tote them around, you lose the trusty calendar built into most pill cases.
  • Pair the pill with an activity. Keep your pills next to the toothpaste and finish off your morning or nighttime routine with a dose. If you find that one activity isn't consistent enough to associate with taking the pills, then switch to another activity.

If you find sticking to the rigid daily schedule of birth control pills difficult to maintain, however, you may consider talking with your gynecologist or women's health care provider about other contraceptive options. Not everyone is a reliable pill-taker, so it is great that additional methods of birth control are available.

Alice