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Photography by Irina Chetverikova (left), simarik/Getty Images (right); Design by Erica Singleton

Missing a period when you’re on birth control can be enough to make your heart stop. Take a deep breath. Not having a period while using NuvaRing is probably NBD.

Yep! Missing a scheduled period when using NuvaRing or any other hormonal birth control, for that matter, does happen. The introduction of hormones affects your period.

For some people it can mean lighter periods, for others, it can result in a missed period.

NuvaRing is very effective. Like 98 percent effective. If you’ve been using it as directed, it’s unlikely you’re pregnant even if you don’t get your period. You can always take a home pregnancy test if you want to put your mind at ease.

If you’ve had a mishap — which can and does happen to anyone — your risk of pregnancy may be a little higher.

A pregnancy test is definitely in order if you miss a period on NuvaRing and:

  • the ring was out of your vagina for more than 3 hours during the 3 weeks of use
  • you waited longer than 1 week to insert a new ring
  • you left the same NuvaRing in for more than 4 weeks (28 days)
  • you’ve done everything correctly, but missed two periods

It’s hard to say. Everyone is different so it’s impossible to predict exactly how the hormones will affect your cycle.

There are also other things that could interfere with your cycle and cause you to miss a period on birth control, like stress, weight loss, and frequent exercise.

NuvaRing sometimes causes unplanned bleeding, which is bleeding or spotting between periods.

This can vary from just a bit of staining to all-out breakthrough bleeding that’s similar to a regular period.

It’s most common during the first few months of using NuvaRing. The bleeding (and other side effects) usually go away in 2-3 months when your body adjusts to the hormones.

NuvaRing can cause the same side effects that are possible with other combination hormonal birth control methods.

Keep in mind that most people don’t have major problems with hormonal birth control and side effects are usually tolerable and short-lived. They tend to go away once your body adjusts to the hormones.

Along with the period changes we mentioned, other possible side effects include:

  • headaches
  • sore breasts
  • nausea
  • increased vaginal wetness

Yes, you can skip your period on purpose.

The beauty of using a vaginal ring is that you have a few schedules to choose from so you can plan to get your period — or not — when you want.

The most common schedule (and the one recommended by NuvaRing’s manufacturer) is to have NuvaRing in for three weeks (21 days) and then have one ring-free week.

Their website says that if you leave NuvaRing in for 4 weeks, you should still be protected against pregnancy. Some experts say NuvaRing has enough hormones in it to last up to 5 weeks.

Choose the schedule you want and then to delay your period, simply put in a new ring when you’d normally begin your ring-free week. Easy!

You can do this occasionally, like if you’re going on vacation or have some other reason for wanting to put off your period. Or, you can do it all the time if you’d just rather not have a period.

Just know that some spotting or bleeding as your body adjusts is possible, so you might want to keep some liners or tampons on hand just in case.

It’s totally safe to skip your period. As a matter of fact, research shows there are benefits to using birth control to continuously suppress menstruation.

Benefits may include:

Also, as long as you’re not trying to conceive, there isn’t a biological reason to have monthly periods.

NuvaRing is considered safe and effective, but like all hormonal contraceptives, side effects are possible.

Consult with a healthcare professional if you think you might be pregnant. You should also talk with a healthcare professional if your NuvaRing side effects are severe or don’t improve.

Side effects to watch for include:

See a healthcare professional right away if you develop:

  • leg pain that doesn’t go away
  • pain or pressure in your chest
  • shortness of breath
  • sudden and severe headaches
  • yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes

If your symptoms are severe, call your local emergency services or go to the nearest emergency room.

Not having a period while using NuvaRing usually isn’t a reason to panic, especially if you’ve been using it as directed. Hormonal birth control can make your period lighter or stop it from happening entirely.

If you’re worried, you can always do a home pregnancy test or have a healthcare professional do one to be sure.

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.