What Happens If I Take Birth Control 30 Minutes Late?

Sexual Health

What Happens If I Take Birth Control 30 Minutes Late?

Editorial Team

In this article, we'll be explaining the importance of birth control, how birth control pills work, what happens if you take birth control pills 30 minutes late and what you should do if you miss your birth control dose entirely. 


What Is Birth Control 

Also known as contraception, birth control refers to any method that can be used to prevent unwanted pregnancies from happening. Birth control methods can include condoms, birth control pills, practicing the rhythm method, IUDs and tubal ligation. 

It is important you use birth control if you are sexually active with your partner. In a study done by the National University Hospital (NUH) in Singapore, researchers found that 84% of couples who did not use any birth control methods got pregnant within a year and 92% of those same couples got pregnant within 2 years. 

Birth control pills are available in different forms, either as a combination pill (Yasmin, Yaz) or as a progestin-only pill (Cerelle, Cerazette). 

Combination birth control pills work by using both estrogen and progestin hormones to prevent ovulation. These birth control pills also help to thicken the mucus present in your cervix which makes it more difficult for the sperm to reach and fertilize the egg. 

As the name implies, progestin-only pills contain only progestin. Similar to combination birth control pills, progestin-only pills will prevent ovulation, thicken the mucus present in the cervix to make it difficult for the sperm to reach and fertilize the egg, and thins the uterine lining to prevent the fertilized egg from implanting itself. 

It is possible for both combination and progestin-only birth control pills to achieve a 99% effectiveness rate, but only if used perfectly. "Perfect use" refers to when the birth control pill is taken at the same time every day, without fail.

"Typical use" refers to when the user occasionally forgets to take their dose of birth control pills or forgets to start a new pack of birth control pills. This is how most women will take birth control pills and while it does increase the likelihood of the birth control failing and accidental pregnancy occurring, typical use still has a high effectiveness rate of 91%.

Similar to other methods of birth control, birth control pills can make periods lighter and reduce the severity of period cramps. 

What Happens If I Take Birth Control Pills 30 Minutes Late?

If you take your birth control pills (regardless of which type) 30 minutes late, you should still be okay and protected. 

If you are using combination birth control pills, you will be protected from getting pregnant so long as you take the pill every day.

If you are using progestin-only pills, it is possible that it might be less effective if you take your birth control 3 hours later than your usual time. It is highly recommended that you use a backup non-hormonal form of birth control (like condoms) for the next 48 hours to ensure you are protected from any unwanted pregnancies. 

What Should I Do If I Forget To Take My Birth Control Pill Much Later Than 30 Minutes (Late Birth Control Pill)? 

As mentioned earlier, birth control pills can have an effectiveness rate of 91% - 99%, but this will only be possible if you take your pills as prescribed by your doctor and taken consistently everyday, at the same time. The effectiveness will diminish if you miss your dose of birth control pills. 

So what should you do if you accidentally forget to take your birth control pill? 

You should refer to the pamphlet of your birth control pills immediately as different types of birth control pills will have different dosing schedules and instructions on how many pills to take if you forget to take them for a full day. 

If you forget to take your birth control pill at your usual time, you should take your pill as soon as you remember on the same day.

If you are unsure on how many pills to take after having missed taking your pills, do contact your doctor for further instructions. 

If you do miss a dose of your birth control pill, it is highly recommended that you use a back-up non-hormonal contraceptive method (like condoms) until you finish your pack of birth control pills. If you do have unprotected as missing a dose of birth control, there is a possibility that you might need to take an emergency contraceptive pill. You should contact your doctor immediately for further advice if you think you might be pregnant. 

When Should I Use An Emergency Contraception? 

Emergency contraception refers a birth control method that is used to prevent pregnancy after having unprotected sex. It is highly recommended that emegency contraception should be used as soon as possible after having unprotected sex as this will increase their effectiveness at preventing pregnancy. However, emergency contraception can still be used between 72 to 120 hours after unprotected sex and be effective.

Emergency contraception prevents pregnancies either by delaying ovulation or by killing the sperm before it reaches the egg and fertilises it. It is important to note that emergency contraception does not induce an abortion. 

You should use emergency contraception if any of the following has occurred: 

- You and your partner had unprotected sex.

- You think your birth control method has failed

- You forgot and missed taking 2 or more days of your birth control pills