The advice is slightly different depending on whether you are taking the combined pill or the progestogen-only pill (POP), otherwise known as the mini pill.
The combined pill contains a synthetic version of both oestrogen and progesterone, whereas the mini pill only contains progesterone. The combined pill is taken for 21 days with a seven day break, while the mini pill is taken every day.
“If you’re on the ‘combined’ pill and realise you’ve missed one, you should take it as soon as you realise,” says Emma. This may mean taking two pills in one day but while you should take the missed pill as soon as possible, you should take the second one at the time you would usually take it. If you’ve just missed one combined pill, it shouldn’t affect your chances of getting pregnant and you can carry on as normal once you’ve taken the missed pill.”
The rules are slightly different for the mini pill. “On a ‘traditional’ mini-pill with progesterone only, you’re covered if you take it within three hours of when you usually would,” Emma says, “ but some newer pills also contain desogestrel. The window you have to take these is 12 hours of when you usually would.”
If you take your pill within these ‘windows’, then you should still be covered. If you miss your window, you should still take your contraceptive pill as soon as possible and then continue to take it normally.
“Use extra protection for the next 48 hours (e.g. condoms),” Emma recommends, “if you’ve had unprotected sex within the last 48 hours of forgetting to take the mini pill then you’re not covered and you may want to seek emergency contraception.“