4 Ways You Can Still Get Pregnant On The Pill
Birth control pills are the most common hormonal method of contraception used by women in the U.S. They are up to 99.7% effective when taken consistently and correctly. But since we are human, and humans are prone to making mistakes, there is considerable room for error.
Most pills are made with two hormones – estrogen and progestin. Some pills, commonly called the “mini-pill,” only contain progestin.
These hormones make changes in a woman’s body that prevent pregnancy in three ways:
• Preventing ovulation. Ovulation typically occurs in the middle of a woman’s cycle, or about 14 days before her period begins. If no egg is released, it means no chance for pregnancy.
• Thickening cervical mucus. This makes it harder for sperm to swim into the uterus.
• Thinning the uterine lining. The uterus develops a lining of red blood cells throughout a menstrual cycle. The hormones from pills makes the uterine lining thinner, which makes is less likely that a fertilized egg will attach. This thinner lining is also why women tend to have shorter, lighter periods while using birth control.
So how do women taking birth control pills still get pregnant?
1. Forget to take your pills every day.
Birth control pills stabilize hormone levels so that the pituitary gland does not send a message to the ovaries to release the egg. Skipping pills means that hormone levels can drop below the threshold needed to prevent ovulation.
2. Don’t start the new pack on time.
Most pill packs have 28 pills – 21 pills are “active” pills and contain hormones and 7 pills are placebo or “reminder” pills. When a woman forgets or waits to start her next pack of pills she extends the timeframe between active pills.
3. Throw up within 30 minutes of taking your pill.
It takes 30 minutes for the pill to be absorbed into your bloodstream.
4. Take medications or supplements that interact with birth control.
Certain medications and herbal supplements have been shown to reduce the effectiveness in birth control pills. These medications can speed up the rate at which the hormones are broken down.
If you want to prevent pregnancy but are having trouble remembering your pills, talk to your doctor about other methods that may be easier to take.