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Forgetting to take your pill is a common reason for the pill failing. For the pill to work effectively at preventing unwanted pregnancy, you need to remember to take it as directed.
When experts talk about the effectiveness of contraception, they talk about perfect use and typical use.
For the pill, the percentage of women who get pregnant while using the pill is as follows:
A great way to help you achieve perfect use, is to form a habit to help you remember to take your pill.
The simplest thing that you can do to help you remember to take your pill is to set a daily reminder on your phone. This could just be an alarm but you there are also apps that are designed to give you pill reminders.
Use a reminder app and donate to Brook (the app is free and you will not be asked to donate money)
People do a lot of things because they’re in the habit of doing them. Habits can be good (eating fruit after dinner) or bad (biting your nails). You can also create habits to help you remember to do things.
Here’s how to do it with your pill:
IF I’m brushing my teeth, THEN I will take my pill”
You might still forget to take your pill if your routine changes, for example if you’re away from home, staying with a friend or a partner or on holiday.
In these cases, it can be useful to make a plan, for example:
Once you’ve decided what your plan is, write it down and repeat it to yourself a few times. This is a proven way to help you to remember it.
It can also help to always have a spare pack of pills always with you in your bag. That way, if you’re not at home, you can still take it.
Even when you’re in a different time zone, it’s important to take your pill at the same time of day as you normally would at home. This means that if you take it in the morning when you’re at home, you might have to take it in the evening when you’re away (when it’s morning in the UK). If your holiday destination is only one or two hour’s difference from the UK, you shouldn’t need to worry. However, if you’re travelling long haul, you need to consider when to take your pill.
Before you go, work out what time it will be when you’re on holiday, when you usually take your pill at home. For example, if you normally take your pill at about 8am in the UK, and you’re going to be in California, you should take your pill at midnight. This might be quite difficult, but you might want to consider taking your pill just before you go to bed at night.
And remember, if you’re worried, you can always use another method (such as condoms) to make sure that you are protected.
If remembering to take your pill is too much hassle, there are a number of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) that you don’t have to think about again for weeks, months or even years e.g. the injection, the implant, IUD and IUS.
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