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Birth Control Pills: Missed or Skipped Periods

Overview

It's not unusual for women who are taking hormone pills for birth control to have very light periods or no bleeding at all.

  • If you haven't missed any pills, skip 1 period, yet have no other signs of early pregnancy, it is very unlikely that you are pregnant. Signs of early pregnancy include fatigue, breast tenderness or enlargement, nausea or vomiting, and increased urination. Call your doctor if you are worried. Start your next package of pills at the regular time.
  • If you miss 2 periods in a row, regardless of whether you have missed any pills, take a home pregnancy test. Call your doctor for advice about the test results. If you haven't missed any pills, it's unlikely that you are pregnant. Do not stop taking your pills and risk a pregnancy unless your doctor tells you to stop.
  • If you forget 1 or more pills and you miss a period, take a home pregnancy test as soon as you can. If the test is positive, stop taking your pills. Call your doctor for advice about the test results. If the test is negative, talk to your doctor about what to do about missed or skipped birth control pills.

Credits

Current as of: November 22, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine

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