Too embarrassed, too busy or just don’t know the right question? This page should cover a lot of aspects of what you need to know.


    There is still an old-fashioned opinion floating around that long-term users of hormonal contraceptives should take a regular break from use for a few months to allow the body to "recover" from the hormones contained in it. This is why some women still come off hormonal contraceptives for several weeks or months at a time. We now know that there is no reason to take a break from taking hormones, and it may even be harmful.

    Taking breaks like this does not improve your ability to conceive either: the length of time for which you take hormones has no influence on that.

    Hormonal methods are a definite option while you are breastfeeding, but not all of them are appropriate: products containing estrogens should not be used because this hormone can have an effect on milk production. Progestin on the other hand, is an option - especially those with "local" effects such as hormonal intrauterine systems (IUS). The volume and composition of breast milk are not affected. Three-monthly injections, progestin-only pills and hormonal implants are other contraceptive options for women who are breastfeeding. Ask your doctor or healthcare provider for further information.

    If you are regularly taking the pills, you are very unlikely to be pregnant. The pill is highly effective. If your period does not come, it does not necessarily mean that you are pregnant as long as you did take it as directed. It could be that the lining of your womb has not built up very much and is therefore not being expelled. If menstruation does not come for more than two months in a row talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before you start taking the new strip.

    This depends on what hormonal contraceptive you use and what day of your cycle you start using it.

    The combination pill (estrogen and progestin) usually needs seven days to become effective, while the progestin only pill (also called the mini pill) can protect you from pregnancy after two days, although this also depends on what day of your cycle you start taking the pill.

    If the contraceptive implant or the IUD (also known as the copper coil) is placed within the first seven days of your menstrual cycle, it is effective immediately. If it's fitted at any other time, you'll need to use additional contraception for the first seven days.

    If you start using the ring or the patch or have a contraception injection between the first and fifth day of your period, you are protected right away. If you start on any other day of your cycle, you are protected seven days later.