What Happens When You Switch Birth Control Pills?

Hi Heather,

I switched birth control pills for personal reasons a few weeks ago. My doctor said that everything should be okay, so I kept having sex with my boyfriend. Well, now I’m a week late for my period and I’m totally freaking out. Could I be pregnant? I went from one pill to the other, there wasn’t a period where I wasn’t on birth control. Help!

Luckily, you’re asking someone with experience in this matter. I’ve switched birth control pills five times in the years that I’ve been taking them. The side effects of changing pills really depends on your body and the kinds of pills you were taking before and have just started taking – so, basically, it can be a different experience for everyone. But there are some general things that you should watch out for.

If there was no moment when you weren’t on the Pill, the effectiveness shouldn’t change – meaning that, ideally, your chances of getting pregnant shouldn’t be higher. However, one gynecologist once told me that it’s a good idea to use an alternate form of birth control (condoms) in that first month anyway, just to be safe. It’s also important to keep in mind that the Pill is never 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, so you should always be using condoms as well (plus, the Pill doesn’t protect against STDs).

As for side effects, it really depends on how your body reacts to the new Pill. There are always side effects to look out for, like soreness or tenderness of your breasts, spotting in between periods, acne, mood changes, a decrease in your sex drive, headaches, bloating, and possible weight gain. Any of these things are normal, and sometimes as your body adjusts to the new hormones, they may go away.

I’ve also found from personal experience that switching pills can sometimes make your period late, or even make you skip a period altogether. My gynecologist said I would be fine too, but twice, my period was really late, and I was fine.

I don’t think you have anything to worry about, but if you’re really freaked out, take a pregnancy test or see your gynecologist.

take care,

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