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Switching Birth Control

Specific Instructions

The specific instructions for changing birth control methods will depend on your current birth control method, and the method you are switching to. This article will focus on switching to birth control pills. If you are changing to another type of birth control, make sure to talk to your healthcare provider about the best way to switch.
 
Switching From One Type of Birth Control Pill to Another
There are a few different options for changing from one birth control pill product to another. These options include the following:
 
  • Finish your current package of birth control pills, and start your new birth control pills the day you would have started a new pack of your previous birth control pills. If you have been taking your current pills correctly, you will not need to use a backup method of birth control.
 
  • Stop your current birth control pills immediately, and start your new pills the next day. If you have been using your current pills correctly, you will not need a backup method of birth control.
 
Switching From Another Hormonal Birth Control Method
In general, changing from another type of hormonal birth control method, such as the birth control patch or vaginal ring, is very similar to switching from other birth control pills. Options for switching include:
 
  • Immediately stop your current method and take the first pill of your new birth control pill pack the next day. If you have been using your current method of birth control correctly, you will not need a backup birth control method.
 
  • Finish the current cycle of your current birth control method and start your new birth control pill either the first day of your period or the first Sunday after the start of your period (even if you are still bleeding). If you start your pills on the first Sunday after the start of your period, you will need to use a backup method of birth control, such as a condom, for the first seven days of your first birth control pill pack. If you choose to start the pills on the first day of your period, you will not need to use a backup method.
 
One exception is when you switch from an injectable hormonal birth control (such as Depo-Provera®). If you are currently using an injectable birth control, start your new birth control pills on the day your next injection is due. You will not need to use a backup birth control method.
 
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