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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex Basics and Sexual Health » "Perfect use" for birth control?

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Author Topic: "Perfect use" for birth control?
aaa259
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Member # 47869

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I've been on birth control pills for a few years now, but didn't become sexually active until after I'd been on them at least two years. Since that happened, I've been a LOT more careful about taking them on time--I use my phone alarm and take them at 11pm every day, and if I'm ever off, which is rare, it isn't ever by more than an hour.
My question is this: whenever I read about the effectiveness of the pills, there are "typical use" and "perfect use" numbers, which are pretty different. When they say "perfect use," is that something that's actually possible to do, or is it assumed that all of us make enough mistakes that we should all assume typical use? I think that I do a pretty good job taking them the right way, but there's a significant difference between a 0.1% failure rate and a 5% failure rate! So just wondering.

Posts: 15 | From: New York | Registered: Jul 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Karybu
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The numbers for "perfect use" come from lab studies, so it's unlikely that anyone would ever be at that rate, but if you take your pills within three hours either way of your normal time and don't ever miss any or take any more than 12 hours late, you can consider yourself a perfect user, very close to that "perfect use" rate. Typical use means missing a pill here and there, taking some more than 12 hours late. From what you've said, you're a perfect pill user, and your risk of pregnancy is very low.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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aaa259
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Thanks! I always back up with condoms too no matter what, so I knew the chance was low, but I wasn't sure which number to use to figure out just how low.
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Karybu
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If you're backing up with condoms and taking your pill consistently, your risk is about as small as it can get.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

Posts: 5649 | From: Canada/Australia | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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