Yes. You are protected from pregnancy during your combined pill break as long as you start taking your pill again on the 8th day. You must take your pill as you were before (preferably at the same time of day) on the 8th day.
This is because we know that not taking tablets for 7 days weakens the pill’s main effect of preventing your ovaries from releasing an egg; this means that there’s an increased risk that your body will release an egg if you miss your pill on the 8th day.
During your 7 day break on the pill, a lot of women will get ‘withdrawal bleeding’ which may seem a lot like getting a period. It’s caused due to a break in taking hormones and isn’t a ‘real’ period. Answering, can I take my pill break early? No. This will increase your likelihood of getting pregnant.
Can I take the combined pill continuously?
Can you take the pill without a break? Yes, it’s safe and can stop monthly bleeding in some women.
Regular monthly bleeds have been found to have no known medical benefits, and by taking the pill continuously you can stop them . Continuous pill taking can also reduce period pain, migraines, other headaches, and is very convenient if there’s a week of the month where you just don’t want to be on your period.
If you do take a break you will likely bleed, like a period, only it’s artificial (caused by a sudden drop in hormones – as you’re not taking them in from the pill) and does not mean that you are not pregnant.
We call this an ‘off-label’ use, which means that whilst the pill isn’t being used exactly as per the manufacturer instructions, it’s safe to use it in this way. Any side effects will be the same as if you were taking the pill with a 7-day break.
Speak with your prescriber before taking the combined pill continuously because it can depend on the type of combined pill you’re taking and they will be able to answer any other questions you may have.
How long can you be on the pill for?
The combined pill can be used as birth control up until you reach the menopause or until you turn 50 years old. This is the same on the regular method or the continuous method.
However, there are a few circumstances where it will be a good idea to discuss being on the pill with your doctor or prescriber. For example, if you develop certain health conditions, there may be a risk that these will interact with the combined pill.
A few examples include a blood-clotting disorder, high blood pressure, heart problems, breast cancer, liver problems, gallbladder disease, migraines with aura (you see bright lines right before your migraine starts), and diabetes.
If you are a smoker over 35 or have just given birth let your prescriber know as they may recommend another form of birth control for you long or short term.