When using oral contraceptives (oral pills), chances of getting pregnant do not exceed 1%. The duration of using oral pills does not affect the chances of getting pregnant. Therefore, women can take oral pills for many years, without worrying about unplanned pregnancy.
If you miss one oral pill, the chances of getting pregnant are increased, but not significantly. If more than 36 hours have passed after the missed dose of oral contraceptive, the chances of getting pregnant are increased several times.
If you miss two oral pills, the chances of getting pregnant will be the same as in women have never taken hormonal contraceptives. If you miss one or two hormonal pills, you can reduce the chances of getting pregnant by means of:
- Barrier contraception methods (hormonal)
- Emergency contraception methods (nonhormonal)
To reduce the chances of getting pregnant after the missed dose of hormonal contraceptive, most women ask their partners to use condoms.
If a man does not want to use such contraception method, a woman can replace male condoms by female barrier contraceptive, such as vaginal diaphragm.
Just as male condom, vaginal diaphragm is made from silicone. When vaginal diaphragm is properly installed, it covers the cervix and prevents the contact of sperm with the cervical canal.
Contraceptive effect of vaginal diaphragm is lower than that of male condoms. However, when oral contraceptive pill was missed and the man refuses using a condom, vaginal diaphragm helps to reduce the chances of getting pregnant by no less than 80%.
Male condoms are more reliable than vaginal diaphragms, but their contraceptive effect is lower than that of oral pills. When condoms are properly used, the chances of getting pregnant are equal to 6%, but in improper use – more than 10%.
When using oral pills without barrier contraception, the chances of getting pregnant do not exceed 1%. If the woman or man uses condom or diaphragm in addition to oral pills, the chances of getting pregnant is almost equal to zero.
It should be noted that the use of condoms helps to reduce not only the chances of getting pregnant, but also the risk of sexually transmitted infections.
The use of oral pills guarantees a reliable contraception and condoms use helps to maintain a good health of organs of the urogenital tract (genitourinary system).
Unfortunately, not all men and women try to reduce the chances of getting pregnant before sexual act. Some sexual partners try to prevent pregnancy already after unprotected sexual act.
Emergency contraception is used in exceptional cases:
- If a woman forgets to take an oral contraceptive,
- If there are doubts about the effectiveness of barrier or any other contraception method,
- If a decision on pregnancy prevention was taken already after unprotected sexual intercourse.
«Morning-after pills» containing a high dose of synthetic analog of progestogen hormone are used for emergency contraception. The most popular progestogen-containing pills for emergency contraception are Plan B (or Plan B One-Step).
The chances of getting pregnant after emergency contraception depend on when Plan B morning-after pills were taken.
- When using Plan B pills within 24 hours after unprotected sexual act, the chances of getting pregnant are equal to 5% (contraceptive effectiveness 95%).
- If Plan B morning-after pills were taken no later than 72 hours after unprotected intercourse, the chances of getting pregnant is equal 11%.
Thus, the efficiency of emergency contraception depends on how quickly a woman took Plan B pills. The chances of getting pregnant are lower in women who took Plan B pills a few days after the end of regular birth control pills.
It should be noted that the chances of getting pregnant depend not only on the type of oral pills, but also on the period of their use. If oral pills were taken at a time when the egg is not ready for fertilization, the chances of getting pregnant are zero.
It is noteworthy that many men and women believe that male or female sterilization is the most reliable method of contraception. This statement is not an accurate, because chances of getting pregnant after sterilization are the same as when using birth control pills.
A key feature of female sterilization is that its contraceptive effect is irreversible. Only one surgical sterilization procedure forever deprives a woman of the ability to give birth.
If pregnancy creates a serious risk to the woman’s health, sterilization is absolutely warranted. However, if a woman of childbearing age has a good physical, mental and reproductive health, she should not deprive herself of the chances of getting pregnant.
After all, at any age and at any period of the life, a woman can use well-researched, reliable and safe birth control options, the most effective of which are long-term and short-term hormonal contraception methods.