If you're taking birth control, you want it to be effective. The logic is really as simple as that. If you weren't concerned with how effective your birth control was, then you probably wouldn't be taking it in the first place. But what many women fail to realize is that when it comes to oral contraceptives, there is one tiny way to make birth control more effective. Because, though you might think you're safeguarded by popping that pill, there's a little more science behind your oral contraceptive than the so-called magic that your little pill holds.
The one way to make birth control more effective is by taking your birth control every day. I know, it sounds like a no brainer. But think about it. There's a good chance you've either forgotten to take your pill, skipped a day, or started a pack late at least once in your history with the pill. In an interview with Self, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Fahimeh Sasan said that missing a pill is the biggest birth control mistake you can make. "The number one reason birth control pills fail is because women are not taking them daily," Sasan said.
In an interview with Bustle, Dr. Lauren F. Streicher, Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, echoed the same sentiment. “The most important thing about hormonal contraception is that you have to be good about taking it,” Streicher said. In fact, Streicher recommended that readers set a daily alarm to take the pill, at an hour they know they'll be awake. When taken correctly, according to WebMD, the birth control pill is 99.9 percent effective. But because birth control pills are a manual and daily form of birth control, the margin of error tends to offset and diminish that 99.9 percent efficacy rate.
Though missing one pill doesn't mean you're absolutely going to get pregnant (and there's a good chance that somewhere along the line, you'll miss a pill), it does mean you could get pregnant. If you miss one pill, Planned Parenthood recommended taking your missed birth control pill as soon as possible. If you miss two or more pills during the first three weeks of your oral contraceptive, the organization noted that you should use backup birth control for at least seven days, to ensure your best chances of avoiding pregnancy. In order to ensure that your birth control pill is the most effective it can be, make sure you're consistent. Set an alarm if you need to, do whatever you need to do to ensure that taking your birth control is part of your daily routine so that your pill can be your number one safeguard against an unplanned pregnancy.