Can Doubling up on Birth Control Pills Prevent Pregnancy?

Did you forget to take an oral contraceptive a day ago and now you’re thinking of doubling up on the birth control pill? Well, these pills play with your hormonal secretions and any disturbance can fluctuate the hormones. Hormonal contraceptives can effectively prevent pregnancy if used as per the given guidelines. 

Among those who use oral contraceptives, “Can I double up on birth control if I miss a day?” is the most frequently asked question. Sometimes you get so busy with life that when you take your pill, you realize that you missed a day!

That’s the point when you panic and doubling up on birth control appears to be the only solution. But is it safe to take two birth control pills in one day?

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First of all, just relax and sit on a couch and stop panicking because the answers to all of your queries are here in this write-up. 

Is Doubling Up on Birth Control Risky? 

No! Absolutely not! Usually, doctors advise all women to consume oral contraceptives on a daily basis at the same time. However, a busy routine or any other reason can make you forget to take the pill. In that case, you can double up on birth control. Doctors advise taking the pills as soon as you remember even if it’s the time of your next dose.

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Fertilization, a hormone-regulated procedure is the fusion of sperm and egg in the ampulla of the fallopian tube. Birth control pills contain the reproductive hormones which influence the process of fertilization such as estrogen and progestin (a man-made form of progesterone).

Once ingested, these oral contraceptives make all the arrangements for precluding fertilization such as making changes in the mucus, stopping ovulation, and creating hurdles in the sperm’s routeway. All in all, they prevent the fusion of sperm and egg which is fertilization which directly prevents pregnancy.

There are two kinds of oral contraceptives which women use,

  • Combination pills – As the name indicates these pills are a combination of estrogen and progestin. Both of these hormones prevent pregnancy by making changes to the cervical fluids and lining of the uterus.  
  • Minipills – These pills only contain the man-made version of progesterone and prevent pregnancy by preventing the entrance of sperm and reaching the egg.

So, once you’ve missed any of the above-mentioned birth control pills, immediately double up the dose for a day or consume one as soon as you remember and take the next dose on your routine time. If you double up the dose at the right time, then you won’t need any further contraceptive protection.

Can I Get Pregnant if I Miss a Birth Control Pill?

The risk of pregnancy is based on some factors. One is the phase of the menstrual cycle you are on while the other is the type of contraceptive you’re using (combination or mini pills). Most of the women use combination pills while some use mini pills.

When you use combination pills on a daily basis, a proper supply of these hormones prevents pregnancy. However, if you miss taking the pills for one day then you won’t be at the risk of unintended pregnancy as the hormonal flow isn’t disturbed. But make sure to use backup contraceptive methods for at least a week to avoid the risk of pregnancy. 

If you’re using mini pills which consist of progestin only, then even if you are a few hours late, pregnancy might take place. So, those who use mini pills are at higher risk of pregnancy development than those who use combination pills.  

Side Effects of Missing Birth Control Pills

Women who miss pills experience a few symptoms till the time their body comes back on track. These pills, if forgotten to consume, can enhance the chances of pregnancy. If you aren’t comfortable using this method of contraception and keep on forgetting to take the pills then consult your doctor. He’ll find you another suitable contraceptive method. Following are enlisted some of the side effects of missing birth control pills,

  • Breakthrough bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Migraine

Lastly, the biggest side effect of missing birth control pills is pregnancy. If you’ve missed the pills for a single day then there is a minimum possible risk of it taking place but skipping the pills for several days might lead to an unintended pregnancy.

What Happens if You Accidentally Double up on Birth Control?

Sometimes your hectic day might make you so numb that you forget what you had for dinner. Similarly, you can forget if you had taken the pill or not, and if accidentally you double up on the birth control pill, there’s no need to worry!

This is because accidentally doubling up on birth control might lead to some short-term side effects only. It won’t affect your fertility or long-term health. 

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Usually, a single extra pill doesn’t cause any symptoms other than nausea. Some women also experience spotting but it’s a common mistake that can be easily corrected. Still, if you’ve consumed several extra pills on purpose or accidentally then you might throw up, feel squeamish or suffer from vaginal bleeding. 

To maintain the sequence of your birth control, make sure to continue using the pills on a steady schedule. The extra pill you’ve consumed might disturb the date-wise schedule of pills but you can avoid it by using a pill from the spare packet. 

Symptoms of Birth Control Pill Overdose

Whether you’ve taken the pills on purpose or an overdose took place accidentally, in both cases you’ll experience several symptoms. Although an overdose can’t be a risk to your life but some short-term side effects are likely to develop as follows,

  • Urine discoloration
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive vaginal bleeding within a few days of overdose
  • Migraine
  • Mood swings
  • Breast tenderness

Takeaway

Birth control pills are an easy and effective way of preventing fertilization. However, a steady pill schedule must be followed for maximum effectiveness. These pills consist of man-made hormones which prevent the process of fertilization thereby preventing pregnancy. Even if you miss the pill for a day, still there will be less than a 1% chance of pregnancy. 

Doubling up on birth control doesn’t lead to long-term side effects. In case of missing the pill for a day, you can consume it as soon as you remember as there aren’t any side effects other than nausea. However, doing it on purpose for the sake of preventing pregnancy won’t do any good to your body.  

So, make sure to take these pills on a daily basis and try to consume the pills at the same time each day. If you forget to take oral contraceptives then try to pair them up with your daily routine work. You can take the pill after morning tea or maybe after breakfast. In this way, the chances of missing the pill will be minimized. 

FAQs

How many birth control pills can you take at once?

There are several types of pill packets based on the duration of the course such as 21, 28, 91, and 365 days. Whatever the duration of your pill packet maybe, you’ll be taking a single pill each day at the same time. Doubling up on the pill won’t cause any additional benefits so following a steady pill schedule can effectively prevent pregnancy. 

Can doubling up on birth control make you sick?

If you consume an extra birth control pill accidentally or on purpose, then there won’t be any long-term side effects. You might experience short-term side effects such as nausea but it won’t last much longer. So, feeling slightly sick is normal if you double up on birth control pills.

How long does bleeding last after missing birth control pills?

If you miss birth control pills for more than one and a half days, the hormones in your blood might drop to a certain range which might lead to breakthrough bleeding or spotting. Generally, the length of breakthrough bleeding varies from person to person. In most cases, it doesn’t exceed more than a week. 

What are the chances of getting pregnant after a missed pill?

Your chances of getting pregnant depend upon the type of pill you are using. If you’re using a combination pill, then the chances of pregnancy are low. This is because the high level of hormones in blood might prevent pregnancy for a day but continuous skipping can lead to an unintended pregnancy. On the contrary, skipping mini pills increases the chances of pregnancy.

Mehrosh Ahmer

Mehrosh Ahmer

My name is Mehrosh Ahmer and I’m currently a student of MBBS at Jinnah Sindh Medical University. My passion for studying the wonder that is the human body and the desire to give back to my society has led me to pursue a career in medicine. As I research, I learn more about my field, and it improves my understanding. This is why I enjoy writing the articles so that more people might get to read about subjects that they otherwise might never encounter.

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