Pregnant While Being On Birth Control – Is It Possible?

Birth control pills are a popular way to prevent pregnancy since their dawn in the 1960s. The majority of the women take these pills as they are by far, the most effective in comparison with other methods. They are successful 99 percent of the time but in rare cases, they may also fail.

As a result, a woman taking birth control pills regularly may also end up getting pregnant. There are a number of things that increase the chances of pregnancy. For women who are sexually active and want to avoid such a situation, the instructions that come along with the pill are important.

Pregnancy while taking birth control pills is usually the consequence of not following or forgetting the doctor’s guidelines on how to use the pill in a proper way. Although the cases of pregnancy while being on birth control are fairly rare, it is still important to know this especially if one is sexually active.

How Effective Are Birth Control Pills?

As mentioned before, the birth control pills are effective 99 percent of times. Following the ideal way of taking pills which is taking a dose daily at the same time, pregnancy is easily avoidable. However, due to busy lifestyles, most women cannot follow such a strict schedule.

Forgetting the timing of the pill is common. The majority of the women forget the time they took the pill yesterday. A dose like this daily ensures 91 percent success chances. The failure rate of birth control pills – both the types – is nine percent. This also includes the ‘mini-pills or progesterone-only pills.

Since birth control pills work in most of the cases, the chances of pregnancy while taking them are low. The main problem arises when a woman forgets to take a dose and misses one day in between. Many also forget to start a new pack when the old one finishes.

Missing doses and forgetting to take the pill can be dangerous. When this happens, it may end up in an unwanted pregnancy.

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What Causes Birth Control Pills To Fail?

Taking birth control is among the most effective methods of avoiding an unwanted pregnancy. However, there are particular habits or conditions that might decrease their effectiveness. It is important to know these to cut down the chances to this happening.

For example, forgetting to take the pill at a similar set time can result in pregnancy. It is understandable if a woman cannot remember to take the pill at the exact same time. There can be a little difference in the timing, but not too much.

The birth control pills work by maintaining a certain level of hormones in the body which avoids pregnancy. Having a lot of time difference between two doses can change this level. In addition, missing or skipping completely can cause the levels to drop down quickly.

Since this can happen at any time of the cycle, depending on the woman, it may lead to ovulation and cause pregnancy.

Secondly, one of the habits that can affect the effectiveness of birth control pills is alcohol consumption. Frequent consumption of alcohol often results in forgetting to take the pill on time. Many women also tend to drink right after taking the pill.

Reckless alcohol consumption followed by vomiting after taking a pill is equivalent to a missed dose. This is because the body may not have absorbed the hormones from the pill properly. Consequently, the hormones level drops and it may lead to ovulation.

Thirdly, a very important thing that women often forget it that birth control pills, just like all other drugs, can interact with other medicines. Telling the doctor about being on any other medicine for any health condition is, therefore, mandatory.

How Can Birth Control Failure Be Prevented?

To ensure birth control pills work, it is necessary to follow the instructions that come along with it carefully as well as making some lifestyle changes. Try the following tips to avoid a pregnancy while being on birth control pills:

Set up a time

Taking the pill at the same time is difficult especially in today’s stressful lifestyles but there are some facilities that may help. Setting up a reminder on a phone can be a good way to remember the pill. It is also better to set the time along with a meal such as lunch.

For the women who take the mini pill or the progestin-only pill, this step is mandatory. As these pills contain a lesser amount of hormones, skipping them or having a big time difference between two doses can trigger ovulation. This, in turn, can cause an unwanted pregnancy.

If a dose is missed, it is better to be extra careful for at least the next 2-4 weeks. Try using another birth control method such as condoms or avoiding sex. It is better to not have sex for at least one week after missing a dose to avoid getting pregnant.

Avoid mixing medication

Birth control pills, like all other drugs, can interact with any other supplements or medicines taken along with it. Before starting a course of a new medication, it is important to talk to the doctor about their possible effect on birth control pills’ effectiveness.

Do not forget to ask about using a backup birth control such as condoms if the drugs interact. For people with certain health conditions, take an appropriate and suitable birth control pill that does not worsen the symptoms.

Do not skip placebo pills

Usually, a pack of pills contains combination pills. The dose for the first three weeks is active hormones while for the last week, inactive or placebo pills are taken. Many do not consider taking the placebo pills important and it is not necessary to take them either.

However, skipping the pills can often disturb the setup routine. Many times, women forget to start their next pack of pills on time after choosing to not take the inactive pills. Late doses mean higher chances of ovulation and pregnancy.

Do not take herbal medicines

Many people assume that herbal medicines do not interact with the usual ones. Contrary to this belief, medicines and herbs do interact with each other. Taking over-the-counter herbal pills or any other powders can also reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills.

Do not start taking any herbals pills, even the ones that are for better skin or any similar thing before speaking to the doctor.

What To Do If You Are Pregnant?

Pregnancy while taking birth control pills is not that common and only happens when the instructions are not properly followed. If this does happen, consulting a doctor as soon as possible is better. If you plan to have a baby, you should follow the doctor’s instructions to ensure healthy growth.


Although there is no proven link between birth control pills and harmful effects on the fetus, you should leave them immediately if you are pregnant. Instead, you should switch to taking prenatal vitamins as per your doctor’s recommendation.

If you do not want to terminate the pregnancy, remember to make a decision before an abortion is impossible and unsafe. Terminating the pregnancy also may not be possible after a certain time or at all due to certain laws. Make sure to check the laws in your country and state regarding abortion.


Areeba Hussain

Areeba is an independent medical and healthcare writer. For the last three years, she is writing for Tophealthjournal. Her prime areas of interest are diseases, medicine, treatments, and alternative therapies. Twitter @Areeba94789300

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