Daylight savings time is right around the corner, and even though it seems like no big deal to turn the clock back an hour, daylight saving time actually has more effects on your health and life than you might think. You're probably not thinking, how does daylight saving time affect birth control? Because aside from making sure your alarm is set at the right time, you've probably never considered any other possible effects of daylight savings time. But it turns out, that one hour change can affect more you'd imagine.
If your main form of birth control is the contraceptive pill, then you'll want to read carefully. According to Planned Parenthood, taking your birth control pill at the same time every day is what makes it most effective. Because most birth control pills release hormones into your blood stream that help combat the possibility of pregnancy, making sure those hormones get released at the same time every day so that they remain steady in your system is important. But according to Baby Center, adjusting when you take your pill by one hour won't do much harm. If you're on a combination pill (meaning your pill contains both estrogen and progestin), you have more flexibility with time. However, if you're on a progestin-only pill (often called a mini-pill), taking it at the same time every day is extremely important. According to Healthy Women, if you take your progestin-only pill more than three hours late, you'll need to use a backup method of birth control for 48 hours.
If you mostly just depend on your smartphone, you don't have to worry too much. As long as you have the automatic network settings on, your phone will change with daylight savings time on its own, according to Mic. However, if you rely on good old fashioned ticking clocks, you'll need to make sure you remember to turn the hour back yourself, and set your alarm for the proper time, so that you don't accidentally alter your schedule.
Although Planned Parenthood agreed that it’s better to take your birth control pills at the same time every day, they assured that daylight savings doesn’t present too much of a problem for most birth control pill users. "Otherwise, we’d see a spike in unintended pregnancies at the same times every year," Kendall, a Planned Parenthood worker, said. If you're nervous that you're going to forget to take your pill, or that you took your pill too late, it's always better to be safe than sorry. Visit the Office on Women's Health for more information on back up birth control methods so you can be protected, even if daylight saving time bested you and you took your pill a little bit late.