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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » Quick Starting Oral Contraceptive

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Author Topic: Quick Starting Oral Contraceptive
krystal29
Neophyte
Member # 32068

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Hi, I wanted to clear up some questions I have regarding the combination birth control pill.

My boyfriend and I are preparing to have sex for the first time together (first time ever for me) so I started the pill last month. Since I was more interested in getting in the habit of taking the pill every day, as well as seeing what, if any side effects I may experience, I quick started the pill in the middle of my cycle because I was not concerned with contraceptive effectiveness at that time. So far so good in the first month.

Here's where I get to my questions:

1. What happens if you take the first pill in your pack after you have already ovulated that month?

I basically got my normal period at exactly the same time as it would have come pre-birth control (about two weeks into my active pills) in addition to some light withdrawal bleeding immediately during my inactive pills. This is pretty much what I expected to happen. However, I wanted to make sure this was normal.

2. What's to stop me from ovulating during the inactive pill week?

I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around the science behind this one. I know you are protected during the inactive pills because you have presumably not ovulated the month before. However, let's assume that I did ovulate. Would that last week of active pills (between when my period stopped and I began taking inactive pills) be enough hormones to stop me from ovulating again in the next cycle? What with the timing, I can't understand how taking my inactive pills would be any different than simply taking a week of pills and then missing 7 pills in a row.

I keep hearing you can be sure that you are protected after one full pill pack. However, I wanted to clarify these questions. Though we will also be using condoms every time, I want to have confidence in my birth control.

Sorry if these were confusing but I'd appreciate any insight.

Thanks!

Posts: 10 | From: Pennsylvania | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
Member # 90293

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Hi krystal29,

It's certainly good to be able to understand one's birth control, so I'm glad you're asking these questions. A lot of people have questions about their pill. I think you'd find reading through the following resources helpful. We can go over any of this material afterwards if you still have questions or need clarification.

How do birth control pills really work, even during the placebo period?

Three questions about taking the birth control pill (and plenty of answers)

Combined Oral Contraceptives (The Pill)

--------------------
Robin

Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
krystal29
Neophyte
Member # 32068

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Hi Robin, thank you for the links. I had previously read them and I apologize if my questions make me come across as very uninformed, but I'm still confused about how some of this works.

For example, the resources I have read discuss Sunday and First day starts, and if they do mention quick starts, I have never seen a distinction between quick starting before vs. after ovulation. It seems to me like this would make some sort of a difference in what to expect for your period, and possibly in how soon you are fully protected. Maybe there is no distinction at all. But this is part of my question.

The second part of my question is admittedly probably a result of over-thinking, but I just wanted some clarification.

My line of thought is this:

Your cycle starts on the first day of your period. It is my understanding that women who start taking birth control on the first day of their cycle or a few days after will take three weeks of active pills before they can safely take a week of inactive pills, or else multiple missed active pills might result in ovulation.

I had already ovulated before taking my first pill. So essentially my cycle started in the middle of my active pills, when I got what seemed to be a normal menstrual period. From the beginning of my cycle until now, I have probably taken about a week of active pills, and one week of inactive pills.

I just can't get my mind around why it's okay for me to take a week of inactive pills two weeks into my cycle, when normally it can't be done until 4 weeks in.

Let me please clarify-- I'm really not all that concerned with getting pregnant (I am aware that I am protected during the inactive pill week regardless due to the two other mechanisms of the pill), plus I am not yet having sex. But I'm just unclear and want to understand what's happening with my body.

Any thoughts would be great, thanks!

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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Really, if you're starting mid-cycle, you simply want to use a backup method for at least one full cycle of pills and not bother trying to predict if your pill may or may not become fully effective before that, because there's just no predicting that.

(And I don't think we even have any study on that, per when people start mid-cycle and when the pill is or isn't fully effective, in part because there'd really be no sound way to do that. So, really, we just can't know.)

The difference between how the placebo period works once someone is already using the pill, past that first pack, is that ovulation has been suppressed for them in the cycle before and, so long as they continue taking their pill properly, will be during the next, as well.

But perhaps I'm not understanding what you mean when you ask about having a placebo period "be okay?"

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
krystal29
Neophyte
Member # 32068

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Sorry, I myself am having a difficult time explaining my question. Sounds like something better to try to discuss with someone in person. Thank you anyway for your responses and resources!

[ 03-15-2013, 05:13 PM: Message edited by: krystal29 ]

Posts: 10 | From: Pennsylvania | Registered: Jan 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

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No trouble: sorry if we weren't able to offer you what you needed.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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