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So you missed your birth control pill – it happens! Stay calm, and read on to find out what to do next.

Yes, there’s a chance you could get pregnant if you miss one pill, but generally, the chance of pregnancy isn’t any higher than usual – with one exception: your risk is higher if you’re using progesterone-only pills.

What kind of pill you’re taking can make a difference: If you only missed one combination birth control pill (meaning it contains both estrogen and progesterone) and you’ve been consistent otherwise, take a breath, do a happy dance, and then get back to having all the sex you want.

If you missed a progestin-only pill, the answer is a little more complicated (but don’t panic – we’ll tell you everything you need to know).

Missing one combination pill (that contains both estrogen and progesterone) won’t undo the protection your body’s built up.

When taken consistently, oral contraceptives with combined estrogen and progesterone provide a steady stream of medication that maintains the therapeutic drug level needed to stop you from ovulating. No ovulation = no unwanted pregnancy.

However, if you’re taking a progesterone-only pill, there’s a much smaller window of continued protection. If you miss one of your progesterone-only pills, seek a back-up method of birth control, pronto.

That said, even with perfect use, no pill is 100 percent effective. So, there’s always a small chance you’ll get pregnant, no matter what type of pill you take.

You get the best results if you take your pill around the same time every single day. With perfect use, birth control pills are close to 99 percent effective.

That drops to 91 percent with typical use, which takes into account slip-ups, like forgetting to take a pill once in a while. (We’re human. Sh*t happens.)

As a matter of fact, stats from a 2015 survey showed that around 15 percent of people surveyed reported missing one pill in the previous month.

If you missed one pill, take it as soon as you remember — like right now — even if it means taking two pills in one day. Then, continue taking your pills as usual.

If the pill you missed is just one of the reminder pills — aka the inactive, or placebo, pills at the end of the pack — skipping them is NBD. They don’t contain hormones or provide any protection, so there’s no need to double up. They’re just there to keep you in the habit of taking a pill every day.

You don’t need to use backup protection if you only missed one pill. But, if it makes you feel better, then go for it.

Don’t panic!

Using pills with combined estrogen and progesterone? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), emergency contraception (EC) isn’t usually needed if you only missed one pill.

But it can be considered if you missed a pill early in your cycle or in the last week of the previous cycle. But, again, this only applies to pills with combined estrogen and progesterone.

Progesterone or progestin-only pills are a different story.

If that’s the case, you have a couple of EC options to choose from, including a copper intrauterine device (IUD) or pills.

The copper IUD is the most effective form of EC. But getting it quick enough can be tricky, since it needs to be inserted by a medical provider. Hormonal IUDs may become available for emergency contraception soon, too.

The sooner you use EC after having sex, the more effective it is. Ideally, you should use it within 72 hours after sex, though you have up to 5 days with the copper IUD.

The least expensive and most accessible EC is the progestin-only EC pill, aka the morning-after pill. You can get it over the counter (OTC) in most pharmacies for between $40 and $50. There aren’t age restrictions, and you don’t need to show ID to get it.

It’s typically safe to use and the side effects — if any — are usually mild. A bit of nausea and fatigue are the most common side effects. However, keep in mind that it can be less effective for users with a BMI of 30 or more.

You should still be protected from pregnancy if you only missed one combined oral contraceptive pill. So, if that’s the case, go forth and fornicate.

But, once again, progesterone-only pills require fast action to make sure you remain protected against pregnancy.

If worrying about your birth control failing is going to put a damper on your frisky fun, feel free to use a barrier method as a backup (if you weren’t already going to use one).

Aside from a diaphragm and cervical cap, which need to be fitted by a healthcare professional, you can usually get barrier methods OTC.

Your options include:

If you missed more than one pill, or if it’s been more than 48 hours since you last took one, that’s another story.

You’ll definitely want to use an extra form of contraception as backup or avoid penis-in-vagina sex until you’ve taken hormonal pills for 7 consecutive days.

How you proceed after missing two or more pills in a row depends on where you are in your cycle.

If it happens during week 1 or 2:

  • Take the most recent pill you missed ASAP.
  • Throw away any other missed pills.
  • Keep taking the remaining pills in your pack as you normally would, even if it means taking two pills in 1 day.

If it happens during week 3:

  • Take the most recent pill you missed ASAP.
  • Throw away any other missed pills.
  • Finish the rest of the hormonal pills in your current pack; then, skip the entire week of your hormone-free reminder pills and instead start a brand-new pack as soon as possible

Occasionally forgetting to take a birth control pill is one thing, but if it happens frequently, consider talking with a healthcare professional about other birth control methods that don’t require as much consistency.

The following birth control methods can be used from once per week up to every few years:

The chances of getting pregnant after missing one combined hormone birth control pill are pretty slim.

As long as you’ve been otherwise consistent about taking your pills, you should have enough of the medication in your body to prevent pregnancy.

If you’re worried, or if you missed a few pills, use a backup birth control method and talk with a healthcare professional.

Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a Canada-based freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.