Most manufacturers will say you are protected after seven days of taking the Pill. When I worked in Family Planning our Drs had all of our women use a back up method until they finished a full pack. They stated this is safest practice because it gives the Pills hormones a full cycle to work. The Pill works by supressing ovulation and also makes changes to the uterine lining and to the cervical mucus which helps further to prevent a sperm from fertilizing an egg. These changes really need a full month to occur. Your safest bet is to use back up for a full pack but minimum is seven days. Also remember that Pills are best effective when you try to take the Pill at the same time each day and try not to let more than 24 hours go between Pills. Remember, too, that some drugs decrease the effectiveness of the Pill. Chief among these are antibiotics. If you need antibiotic therapy while you are on the Pill you should use a back up method, like a condom, for the whole time you are on antibiotics and for 14 days after you finish. Antibiotics reduce the effectiveness of the Pill and you can become pregnant during this time. When used correctly BCP's are very effective.
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