Birth control : the mini pill

If you don't want to avoid becoming pregnant, you can take a contraceptive in addition to using a condom.

Violett's doctors and health professionals can give you more information about the different birth control methods and you decide which of these suits you best.

You can contact us if you want:

  • Information about contraceptives.
  • A prescription for contraceptives.
  • An IUD (intra-uterine device) inserted.
  • A contraceptive injection.
  • Get the emergency (morning-after) pill.

The mini pill

How does it work?

The mini pill contains only one hormone (progestogen), unlike the regular pill that contains two. This hormone ensures that the sperm can no longer get through the cervical mucus and prevents a fertilised egg from implanting itself in the uterus. Some mini pills prevent ovulation altogether.

How soon am I protected?

If you start the mini pill on the first day of your period, you are protected from pregnancy straight away.

If you start at a different time, you should use a condom during the first 2 days when having sex.

How do I take the mini pill?

You take the pill continuously, i.e. without a stop week. As soon as your strip is finished, you start a new one.

You need to be strict about taking this pill. In other words: at the same time each day, otherwise it will not be effective. If your mini pill contains levonorgestrel, you should take it within three hours of your scheduled time. If your pill contains desogestrel, you should take it no longer than 12 hours late.

Possible side effects

Positive side effects:

The mini pill contains fewer hormones than the regular pill. As a result, it is more suitable for women over 35 who smoke, women over 40, women who are breastfeeding or who cannot take the regular pill for medical reasons (e.g. those with heart disease).

If have been taking the mini pill for a while, your periods may stop altogether.

Negative side effects:

You must take the mini pill at the same time each day, otherwise it won’t work.

Some women may suffer irregular bleeding while on the mini pill.

In practice

In Belgium, the mini pill is a prescription only medicine available for sale at the pharmacy.

If you vomit or have watery diarrhoea within four hours of taking the mini pill, you must use a condom when having sex because the pill no longer protects you against pregnancy. If in doubt, consult your doctor.

Tell your doctor you’re taking the mini pill when she/he wants to prescribe other medication. Some medicines and herbal remedies can reduce the pill’s efficacy.

The brand name of your contraceptive can vary from country to country. Take the box with you when you go to the doctor. It allows him/her to check the ingredients and prescribe the same product (which may have a different name in Belgium). 

You are 3 hours late taking a mini pill with levonorgestrel or more than 12 hours late with a desogestrel mini pill? You are no longer fully protected from pregnancy because its efficacy is reduced.

  • Take your missed pill immediately. Continue with the rest of the strip at the scheduled time.
  • Use a condom for the next 2 days when having sex.
  • If you've had unprotected sex up to 5e days before the first forgotten pill, you need to take the emergency pill.

Did you forget one pill? Or maybe more?

Read here what to do

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