Progestin Only Pills (POPs)
What are POPs?
Progestin only pills (POPs) are birth control pills without estrogen. Most birth control pills contain estrogen and progestin and are called combination pills. POPs are options for women who cannot take estrogen such as women with high blood pressure, migraine with aura, or a history of blood clots. They are also options for women who are breast feeding and sometimes older women. They are considered safer because they are less likely to cause increased blood pressure, headaches, depression and cardiovascular complications like stroke.
How do they work?
POPs prevent pregnancy mostly by thickening the cervical mucus and thinning the uterine lining. They also suppress ovulation in about half of users. Failure rate (Chance of pregnancy per year of use) 99% for Perfect Use, 91% Typical Use.
How do I take POPs?
- Start the first day of your period.
- Start immediately if there has been no unprotected (condomless) intercourse since your last period.
- If switching from combination pills, start the day after the last active pill and skip the placebo week.
POPs come in a pack of 28 pills with no placebo week so you take them continuously. POPs prevent pregnancy after taking them consistently for 48 hours. It is very important to take the POP at the same time each day - within 3 hours. If you are more than 3 hours late taking a POP, you will need to use another form of birth control, such as condoms, for at least 48 hours as long as the next 2 pills are on time.
If you do miss a pill, take it as soon as you remember, even if this means taking 2 pills in one day. Be sure to take your next pill on time after a missed pill and use an additional form of birth control, such as condoms, for 48 hours. If you miss 2 pills in a row, take 2 daily for the next 2 days and use condoms for 48 hours after the missed pills. You can take emergency contraception if you had intercourse when you were late taking pills.