I’m on the pill and I usually take it continuously so I don’t get a period. But this month I was going to take the placebo pills to have a period. What I’m wondering is: When do I start the hormone pills again? Right after my period ends even if there are placebo pills left? And how long after starting a new pack after my period can I have sex safely without a condom?

woman hand holding contraceptive pillsCongratulation for using birth control! As you know, using birth control pills “continuously” means that instead of taking the placebo pills (the different colored pills that are usually at the end of your pill pack), you just start a new pill pack and throw the placebo pills away. When you do this, you don’t give your body the signal to have a period, so you don’t have it! This is fine for your body and many women choose to do this.

If you want to have a period, just take the placebo pills for 7 days and then start on a new pack of hormone pills.  You will likely have a period then.

Just as a reminder, birth control pills aren’t perfect—about 10% of women will have an unplanned pregnancy within a year if pills are missed.  So make sure to take one pill every day. Also, none of these methods will protect you from STIs such as chlamydia or HIV—only condoms or abstaining from sex do that.