Females of the child bearing age release eggs (ova) from the ovaries (female sex organ), usually every 28 days. A pregnancy results when an egg combines with a sperm (fertilization). The main action of the oral contraceptive pill is to prevent this release of eggs (ova).
In addition it thickens the cervical mucus making the sperm migration difficult, within the female reproductive tract.
Also, it makes the uterine lining (lining of the womb) thin so that the implantation of the embryo (early pregnancy stage) will not take place.
If you are starting pills for the first time, make sure you consult a doctor beforehand. Sometimes pills may not be suitable for you.
If you are having regular monthly bleeding (menses), the pill should preferably be started on the first day of your menses (or within the first 5 days).
If you are planning on getting married, start the pill one or two months before to get used to it.
If you are a breast feeding mother do not start the pill until 6 months following delivery because the hormones in the pill may reduce milk production.
If you have had an abortion, start the pill within the first 5 days after abortion.
How to use the pill?
Always check expiry date before use.
Start with the first yellow (hormonal) tablet within the first 5 days of your period.
Take one tablet each day at the same time preferably at night.
If vomiting occurs within 2 hours take another pill immediately.
Follow the arrows indicated at the back of the pack.
When you finish the yellow tablets start taking the brown (iron) tablets.
Bleeding (menses) will usually occur when taking the brown tablets. Even if you start bleeding when taking these brown tablets you must continue.
Start a new pack as soon as you finish one pack. There should be no break in between pill intake.
Pills should be taken even if you do not have regular sexual intercourse.
Always keep an extra pack of pills at hand before one pack is over.
If you are worried about anything regarding the pill, do not stop taking it, but instead consult a doctor.
Pills should be stored in a place where it cannot be reached by children.
What should you do if you miss a pill?
If 1 yellow pill is missed -Take 1 pill (the pill you forgot) as soon as possible and that day’s pill at the usual time (2 pills in one day). Then continue taking the rest of the pills daily if you follow this, you are protected from an unwanted pregnancy.
If 2 yellow pills missed –Take 1 pill as soon as possible and that day’s pill at the usual time (2 pills in one day) Then continue taking the rest of the pills daily if you follow this, you are protected from an unwanted pregnancy.
If 3 or more yellow pills missed from the first 2 rows - Take 1 pill as soon as possible and that day’s pill at the usual time (2 pills in one day).Then continue the packet until it is over. Use a condom or avoid sexual intercourse for next 7 days as you are not protected from an unwanted pregnancy if you have had unprotected sexual intercourse (without using a condom) in last 5 days – take “Postinor 2” as well.
If 3 or more yellow pills missed from third row – Discard packet & start a new packet. Start the first yellow pill as soon as possible and the second pill at the usual time on the same day (two pills in one day). Then continue the packet until over. Use a condom or avoid sexual intercourse for the next 7 days
If you have had unprotected sexual intercourse (without using a condom) in the last 5 days – take “Postinor 2” as well.
If brown pills missed – Throw away the forgotten pills & continue the remaining pills. Start a new packet when brown pills are over.
Most women have no side effects, but they may sometimes experience Nausea, Vomiting, Headache, Weight Gain, Breast tenderness and vaginal spotting. Side effects usually go away in the first 3-4 cycles. Generally a small change in your lifestyle will help you overcome these problems.
Nausea and vomiting can be minimized by taking the pill after meals.
Weight gain is due to an increase in the appetite. By taking a healthy diet and adequate exercise this can be controlled.
Spotting (light bleeds in between your periods) may occur during the first few cycles, but it is not serious unless it is continuous. Consult a doctor if the bleeding is heavy.
Will I still get monthly bleeds while I’m on the pill?
Yes, usually you will start bleeding when you are taking the brown pills. In addition your menses will be lighter and pain free.
What do I do if I don’t bleed?
If bleeding does not occur even after first packet, provided that the pills were taken properly as mentioned above, start on the second packet without a break. However, if there is no bleeding after two packets you should seek medical advise.
Can I conceive immediately after stopping the pill?
Yes, you can. However, there may be a delay of up to 3 months in regaining fertility after stopping the pill. After 3 months, your chance of conceiving is the same as for a non user.
Do I need to see a doctor regularly while on the pill?
If you do not have any worries regarding the pill, once a year review with the doctor is sufficient.
You may have heard
How true is it?
The pill causes birth defects
It does not cause birth defects or affect the health of future children.
The pill will affect my ability to become pregnant even after stopping it
It will not hurt a woman’s future ability to become pregnant.
I need to stop taking the pill to give my body a rest
It does not need to be stopped to allow the body to take a break.However, go for a yearly medical check up.
The pill does not protect me from sexually transmitted infections such as HIV
This is true. The pill will not give you protection against sexually transmitted infections. You need to use condoms to protect your self.
I can discontinue the pill if I am not having sexual intercourse regularly.
NO! You will not be protected from an unwanted pregnancy unless you continue the pill daily as described above.