What Happens If You Accidentally Take 2 Birth Control Pills in One Day?

round yellow medication pill lot

The pill is an effective form of birth control, but it’s not foolproof. Missing a day of taking your birth control can increase your chance of pregnancy.

Thankfully, most people don’t get pregnant when they forget to take their pill. But what happens if you accidentally take 2 birth control pills in one day?

Symptoms

Birth control pills prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation. If you miss a pill, your ovaries may release an egg. However, your chances of getting pregnant are much lower if you miss a single pill in the middle of a pack or before your period. Symptoms of a missed pill may include cramping, light bleeding or starting your period, nausea and headaches caused by lower estrogen levels in the body. You are also at increased risk of becoming pregnant if you miss your pills for more than seven days and have vaginal sex without using a condom during that time.

If you accidentally take two birth control pills in one day, it is important to continue taking the rest of your regular pill schedule as planned. Unless your symptoms are severe, you should not need to seek medical attention as long as you do not experience any signs of a blood clot, which include chest pain, shortness of breath, coughing up blood or limb swelling.

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Taking two pills in the same day is fairly common and doesn’t typically cause any serious side effects. If you notice that you are one pill “short” at the end of your pack because you took two in a day, you can either use a spare pill from another packet or start a new pill package. If you take a pill from another pack, make sure it has the same number of hormone and placebo pills as your original pack.

Treatment

Birth control pills are tiny oral medications that you take on a daily basis to prevent pregnancy, regulate periods and even help with acne. The pill is usually 99% effective when used correctly. Unfortunately, not all of us are perfect and it is possible to get pregnant while on the pill even when you’re following your regimen exactly.

The good news is that if you accidentally double up on your birth control pills one day, it’s really no big deal and won’t have any long-term health effects. You might feel a little nauseous that day, but that will pass. You will still finish your pack a day early, but that’s no cause for concern.

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For example, if you miss one day’s pill on a 28-day combination pill package, which contains both estrogen and progestin, you can simply take the next active pill right away. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, a missed pill should be taken immediately or within three hours of when it was supposed to be taken. If you’re more than three hours late, they recommend using a backup form of contraception for two days.

A doubling up mistake on the progestin-only pill will be a bit more problematic. It can disrupt the hormone levels in your body and can also lead to symptoms like nausea, abdominal pain and vomiting. If you experience severe symptoms, like chest pains, trouble breathing, hives or extreme leg swelling, it’s important to seek emergency medical care and call NHS 111.

Getting back on track

Doubling up on pills isn’t a huge deal, and you won’t experience any major side effects from doing so. If you do happen to experience symptoms like nausea, Healthline suggests taking some ginger ale or candied ginger to help the feeling subside. However, if you’re experiencing more severe symptoms, it may be a good idea to seek medical attention.

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It’s normal to forget a pill from time to time, especially when you’re busy or going through a big life event. But it’s important to remember that missing one day of birth control can decrease the effectiveness of the hormones and impact your treatment for conditions like endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome that are addressed through the pill.

If you’ve missed one or two birth control pills from your regular pack, take the next pill in the pack as soon as you remember. This will keep the flow of hormones steady and prevent pregnancy. Ideally, you’ll continue to take the rest of the pills in your regular pack at the same time each day until you finish the pack and begin a new one.

If you’re on a combination pill and you miss one or more, make sure to use backup birth control (like condoms and spermicide) until you finish the entire pack of your birth control pills and start a new pack. You’ll also need to use back-up birth control if you have unprotected sex during the first week that you restart your pills.

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