The Period It Takes for Birth Control Pills to Work

February 12, 2021
Birth Control


If you are using pills to protect you from pregnancy, you want to be sure of the length of time it takes them to kick in before engaging in vaginal sex. The last thing you want is to get knocked up. The wrong usage of birth control is among the leading reasons for an unplanned pregnancy.

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So, How Long Does It Take for Birth Control to Work?

The length of time it takes for birth control pills to kick in depends on the pills one uses. Women either take progestin-only or a combination of pills to protect themselves from pregnancy

Combination Pill

One can start taking this type of pill at any time. But if started within 5 days after the start of your monthly period, the pill is 99 % effective right away. You will not need to use condoms or any other backup method to protect yourself from pregnancy. 

For example, if your monthly period starts Tuesday morning, you can get on the pill the following Tuesday morning for immediate protection.

You can also start on a combination pill any other time during your period. If you engage in vaginal sex during the period, you will need to use a backup method such as a condom to avoid getting pregnant because protection kicks in after a week (7 days) of taking the pill.


Birth Control Pills
Birth Control Pills Advantages


Progestin-only Pill

A projection-only pill is also known as a POP pill. It contains progestogen and no estrogen.  When taken, it thickens the mucus in your cervix, putting a big stop sign on sperms so they won’t get through it. Studies indicate that the POP pill is 92 percent effective, and when taken without fail, the effectiveness increases to 99 %.

You can start on the POP pill at any time. Just make sure to take it around the same time every day, give or minus three hours. Protection kicks in after 48 hours of taking the pill. That means that if you plan on engaging in vaginal sex within the first 2 days of POP pill use, you will need to use protection to prevent pregnancy.

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Why Wait 7 Days after Starting Birth Control?

You can start on a birth control pill any time during your menstrual cycle. If you start on the pill within the first 5 days of getting your period, you get immediate protection. However, if you start on the pill on the 6th, 7th, 8th day, etc., after getting your period, the pill takes time to build up in your body, usually 7 days.

Consequently, if you don’t start on the pill immediately after you get your period, you have to wait 7 days before engaging in unprotected vaginal sex. Alternatively, you could use a condom or any other backup method to avoid getting pregnant.

Who Can Take Birth Control Pills?

If you rely on birth control pills, you are among a vast group of women. The birth control pill is the most appreciated contraceptive choice among many women. It is also among the most reliable ways to prevent unplanned pregnancy

You can get the pill any time as long as the doctor verifies you are not already pregnant. The pill is available to women of all ages; however, if you are approaching menopause, a ‘minipill’ is advisable. 

Statistics indicate birth control pills work 99.7 percent of the time when taken correctly. If not taken perfectly, the chances of unplanned pregnancy increase to 90%. 

You shouldn’t take birth control pill if you:

  • Have uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Are above 35 years and smoke
  • Have a history of breast cancer, diabetes, neuropathy, heart disease, stroke, or circulation problems
  • Started breastfeeding in the last 30 days. 
  • Experience migraine headaches
  • Had surgery recently
  • Have uterine bleeding
  • Have liver disease


Birth Control Pills
Side Effects of Birth Control Pills


How to Get Started on the Pill?

Before the doctor prescribes you the pill, they’ll measure your blood pressure and check for STDs if you have had sex previously. You may even need an extensive gynecological exam. 

You can start on the pill in several ways, as explained above. Here is a summary:

  • Within the first 5 days after getting your monthly period. The combination pill offers immediate protection.
  • Any other day within your period. The combination pill takes 7 days to be effective. The POP pill starts working after 2 days. 
  • Sunday start. Most pill packs are arranged, so you start on a Sunday. They come in 21, 28, or 91-day packs. If you start on the pill on the first Sunday after getting your period, use protection for 7 days to avoid getting pregnant.

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Wrapping Up

The birth control pill is the most effective form of contraception. Pills protect 99.9 % of the time if taken correctly. The length of time it takes birth control pills to kick in depends on the type of pill, and when it is taken.

Mangoclinic is one of the leading health care services providers in Miami. We are dedicated to helping all patients from walk-in care services to personalized and long-term care and telemedicine. Give us a call or visit one of our clinics to find out how we can help you.

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