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What To Do When You Forget To Take Your Pill (Birth Control)

posted in Health & Fitness
  • Late pills (up to 24 hours late)

    If your pill is taken less than 24 hours late(you remember several hours later on the same day), it is a ‘late’ pill.

    • Take it as soon as you remember and continue taking the Pill daily at your usual time. This means you may take two pills within 24 hours.
    • In this case, you are covered for contraception.
    • Rule of thumb is no more than 3 hours late.

  • WHAT TO DO: If your pill is taken more than 24 hours late
    it is a ‘missed’ pill.

    • Take it as soon as you remember and continue taking the Pill daily at your usual time. This may mean you take two pills within 24 hours
    •Because you have ‘missed’ a pill, you need to use additional preventative measures (such as condoms) until you have taken seven active pills in a row.


    • If you have less than seven active pills left in your packet before the sugar pills, skip all the sugar pills and start a new pill cycle with active pills. This will mean you will not have your period on the intended week.


    • If any of the pills you took in the last seven days before missing your pill were sugar pills and you have had sex in the last five days, you need emergency contraception.

    This is true even if you were having a bleed when you had sex. Seek advice from your doctor, a family planning clinic or a pharmacy.

    If you miss more than four active pills at any time, this means you have stopped taking the Pill.

    You need to consider emergency contraception if you have had sex. (eg. Plan B - up to 72 hours)

    You must also restart the Pill – it will take at least seven days to work.


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