• Article

Oral Contraceptive Use and Protective Behavior After Missed Pills

A three-month prospective study of 103 women initiating oral contraceptive use examined how consistently the women took their pills and whether those who missed pills employed other means to avoid pregnancy. The results showed that 52% took each active pill or never missed more than one pill at a time after the first week of the initial cycle, according to electronic devices that recorded the date and time each pill was removed from the blister pack. Another 21% were protected by behaviors that reduce the risk of pregnancy when two or more consecutive pills have been missed: avoiding coitus for the next seven days (18%) or using backup contraception during that period (3%). The remaining 27% were at increased risk of pregnancy. Predictors of increased risk were receiving low partner support for effective pill use, being unmarried and not considering it especially important to avoid pregnancy. Increased risk was most likely during the first seven days and during the third cycle of pill use


Oakley, D., Potter, L., Leon-Wong, E., & Visness, C. (1997). Oral Contraceptive Use and Protective Behavior After Missed Pills. Family Planning Perspectives, 29(6), 277-279+287.