When Should You Take Your Birth Control Every Day?

Taking a birth control pill every day is routine for millions of women. And chances are you want to ensure that it’s as effective as possible. This leads to a common question: when should you take your birth control every day? Are mornings more effective than evenings, for instance?

In general, the best time of day to take your birth control is whenever you are most likely to remember it. For instance, if your mornings are a hectic rush of craziness, then opting for a noon or evening pill time may work better. It’s all up to you.

And also, it’s important to note that the combination pill does come with a little leeway. “Typical use means how well the method works when real people in real life use it, whereas perfect use means how well the method works when it's used in a clinical trial," ss explained in Bedsider.org. "Since life isn't a clinical trial, we recommend paying closer attention to typical use numbers.” So while the pill is over 99 percent effective when used perfectly, it’s closer to 91 percent effective in the real world, where women sometimes take it at different times or forget a day altogether. These are still pretty good odds, but read on for tips to help your own usage get to as close to perfect as possible.

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When It Fits Your Schedule

Picking the time of day to take your pill will vary depending on your schedule. “Pick a time of day that is easy to remember," Planned Parenthood advised. "You might find it helpful to take it when you do something else you do every day — like brushing your teeth or eating dinner." And how strictly you have to stick to that schedule depends on the type of pill you’re using. In an interview with Glamour, chief of the division of general obstetrics and gynecology at Baystate Medical Center Dr. Katherine O’Connell White noted that the mini pill, which is progesterone-only, has to be taken within a three-hour window to be effective. In other words, these POP pills must be taken at the same time every day, full stop. But if like most women you’re on the regular birth control pill, a few hours’ difference may not hamper your pill’s effectiveness. “On the weekend if you take your pill at noon instead of at 6 a.m. you don’t need to be scared,” Vanessa Cullins, Vice President for External Medical Affairs at Planned Parenthood, said in Women’s Health. And if you’re having trouble remembering to take the pill every day, there are plenty of birth control pill reminder apps that will use bug you until your pill is taken.

If Nausea Is A Problem

In addition to your personal schedule, there is another factor that may affect the time you choose to take your pill: nausea. To avoid feeling queasy, the “best time to take the pill is half an hour after a complete meal such as dinner or at bedtime” as explained in the Center for Young Women's Health. Taking it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach can make some women feel nauseous.