Birth control : the 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 pill

How does it work?
  • The contraceptive pill contains hormones that prevent ovulation.
  • If there is no ovulation, eggs cannot the fertilised and you cannot get pregnant.
  • Once you stop taking the pill, ovulation returns to normal and you can get pregnant again.
How soon am I protected?
  • If you start taking the pill on the first day of your period, you will be protected from pregnancy immediately.
  • If you take the pill at the same time every day, you are fully protected.
  • During the 7-day break (or stop week), some women have no or only light bleeding (spotting).
  • Although some light bleeding may also occur outside the stop week, you remain protected from pregnancy (unless you have forgotten to take your pills).
  • Be aware that when you start your first pill on a different day than the first day of your period, you are NOT protected right away! You need to also use a condom for 7 days following your first contraceptive pill!
How do I take the pill?

Pill with stop week

  • You take a pill every day for 3 weeks.
  • You then stop for one week (7 days).
  • You period starts during this pill-free week. You start a new strip (21 pills) after this break.
  • The starting day of a new strip is always the same (e.g. when you start your pill on a Monday, you must start taking again on a Monday after the pill-free week).
  • Take the pill always at about the same time (for example, before bedtime), it will help you remember to take it.

Pill without stop week

  • Every strip contains 24 hormone pills and 4 hormone-free pills. The pills without hormones have a different colour (usually white).
  • You take a pill every day for 28 days, always at about the same time. After 28 days, you start a new strip the next day. There is no pill-free week.
  • Bleeding usually occurs on the 2nd or 3rd day of the hormone-free pill period and may last some days into the new strip.

Note: It is important to take these pills in the correct order and strictly as indicated on the packaging!

Possible side effects

Positive side effects

More regular, less painful and lighter periods.

Negative side effects

Headaches, breast tenderness, depression, difficulty keeping your emotions under control, bleeding between periods. These negative side effects usually disappear after three months.

Delaying my periods

Pill with stop week

You can delay your period by skipping the pill-free week and continuing right away with the next strip of pills. There are no risks even if you skip your period for two or three months. After a few missed periods, you can experience some bleeding. You remain protected from pregnancy.

Pill without a stop week

You can delay your period by skipping the pills without hormones and starting a next strip right away. After a few delayed periods, you may get some interim blood loss. You remain protected from pregnancy. If you want your normal period to return, just take the complete strip as before (including the hormone-free pills).

In practice
  • In Belgium, the 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 pill, you are no longer protected from pregnancy. It’s best to use a condom. If in doubt, ask your doctor for advice.
  • Tell your doctor you’re taking the 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).

Have you forgotten to take one pill? Or several?

Read here what to do.

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