Most women can start taking the contraceptive pill on any day of their menstrual cycle. But if you have just had a miscarriage or abortion, or if you have recently given birth, your doctor may give you special instructions. How you start the combined contraceptive pill and the progestogen-only pill is slightly different, so make sure you read the section relevant to you.
There are different ways you can start taking the combined contraceptive pill. The simplest way is to take the first pill on the first day of your period. This means that you will be protected from pregnancy from the first day and you will not need to use additional contraception to prevent pregnancy. However, it is important that you are aware that the contraceptive pill does not protect against STIs.
You can also start the pill at any point within the first 5 days of your period. If your menstrual cycle is over 24 days (over 24 days between the first day of your period and the first day of your next period) then you will not need to use any other contraception to prevent pregnancy. However, if you have a short menstrual cycle (23 days or less) you will need to use other contraception i.e. condoms to prevent pregnancy during the first week of taking the pill.
It is also possible to start the pill at any other point in your menstrual cycle. However, this will not protect you from pregnancy straight away. So you will need to use other contraceptive methods during the first week of taking the pill.
You can start taking the mini-pill on any day of your menstrual cycle. If you start taking the pill on the first day of your period or within 5 days of your period starting, you will be protected from pregnancy straight away. However, if you have a short menstrual cycle (23 days or less between the first day of your period and the first day of your next period) you may not be protected, so it is important that you use additional contraception i.e. condoms during the two days of taking the mini-pill. If you start the mini-pill at any other time in your menstrual cycle, you will need to use other contraception as well, for the first 2 days of taking the pill.