Medical Questions > Womens Health > Birth Control Forum

How Does the Pill Work During "sugar Pill Week"?

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Hi all,
i'm familiar with the general workings of the pill, ie, that it releases hormones which stop you from releasing an egg and whatnot... But my question is, why am I still protected against pregnancy during the week I don't take the pill? Obviously i'm not getting any hormones at this time, yet at any other time in my cycle, missing a pill could cause pregnancy. I'm just curious, that's all :)
thanks.
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First Helper UnknownABC
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replied October 25th, 2005
Especially eHealthy
I believe it's going off the concept that you're on your period, so you're not ovulating during that time anyway. Plus your body is busy expelling the lining of the uterus that has built up during the month, so no implantation happening there. But I use condoms anyway, because i'm paranoid...
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replied October 26th, 2005
Yeah, I also use condoms out of paranoia, and it's not like i'm having sex on my period anyways, but I just don't really understand it.
I mean, I understand that if you aren't on the pill, then you aren't likely ovulating during your period... But when you're on the pill, i've heard that the only reason you get your period is because it's an effect of not getting the hormones from the pill during this time, so... Shouldn't it be possible to ovulate?
If no one knows, it doesn't really matter, I just don't like being confused :)
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replied October 26th, 2005
I am confused about this as well!! I mean I kind of understand it but I have the same exact questions as you
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replied August 3rd, 2009
normally there are only certain parts of your menstrual cycle when you can ovulate and this does not take place when you have your period, therefore you cannot get pregnant when you have your period. there are only a certain number of days each month when you can ovulate so technically you cud only take the pill on those days ad not get pregnant but it is difficult to determine these days (usually soon after ur period) and they are different for everyone. BUT you cannot ovulate when you have your period...hope this helps!!
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replied November 6th, 2009
Actually it IS possible to get pregnant while on your period. You should use some type of protection. The reason you go off the actual pill for a week is to allow menstruation, because it's natural and necesary. Your body needs to clean itself out. You can also have your period regulary while pregnant. Not getting pregnant while on your period, and not having your period while pergnant are both common myths.
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replied November 6th, 2009
Especially eHealthy
htrees, it is not possible when you use the pill. Even if you are not using the pill it is not really a common thing to get pregnant during your period. You need to have a very short cycle 14 to 21 days to ovulate in time to get pregnant from period sex. It is also not normal to have your period while you are pregnant.

You are taking things that are happening very very seldom and making it sound like they are common. It is just not true.
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replied November 11th, 2009
I'm thoroughly confused. No-one has actually ANSWERED this question, medically speaking. I am VERY curious as to how something that can mess up if you don't take the pill within the same hour every day, can still be effective with skipping an entire week. And FYI,it is VERY possible to get pregnant on your period. I speak from first hand experience. Which is why I'm very nervous about using the pill as an effective form of birth control.

So PLEASE, will someone answer this question with FACTS?
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replied November 11th, 2009
Especially eHealthy
Chica_d, did you know that in every normal healthy female cycle there are only a few hours that the egg can get fertilized? This is the 24 hours after ovulation.

Your period is at the opposite end of ovulation in this cycle, 14 days away.

The pill manipulates your hormones to follow a fixed 21/7 day cycle and it stops ovulation from taking place. By the time the inactive pills roll around, it is too late for the body to ripen an egg and release it. The body has been forced into submission and to give up trying to ovulate for that cycle. The correct hormone mix for it to happen is just not there in your body.

The 'period' you experience during the 7 days are also not menstruation. The pill stopped the uterus lining from preparing for implantation so there is nothing to shed during menstruation. It is caused by withdrawing the hormones and allowing the uterus to bleed. For this reason it was found safe to use the 4 bleeds per year pills and the once a year pill is currently in the approval phase.

Depending on the pill you take, the same hour every day is more or less important. The lower the dosage of hormones, the more likely it is that the body's own hormones will take over when you do not take it on time. Most pills has a 24 hour grace period. This is not good for your hormone levels and will likely cause strange bleeding patterns so it is recommended for your own sanity to take it every day at the same time.
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replied January 10th, 2012
Ok yes so you Take sugar pills for seven days and have sex on your period. What about the seven days after your period when you start taking the regular ones again? Wouldn't you not be protected then because I thought I remembered my doctor
Saying if you ever miss a pill you shouldn't have unprotected sex for 7 days after because for the seven days theres a possibility your not protected. So when you take the sugar pills for seven days isn't that like missing seven pills. So you wouldn't need to worry about getting pregnant for having sex while on your period but worry about the seven days after your period?!.?!?...
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replied April 1st, 2012
Hey, I know this might be an obvious question but i can't find the answer anywhere: If you take medications that can affect the Pill, but ONLY on the Sugar Pill days, will it affect the normal Pill? Also if you have unprotected sex 6 days after being back on the Pill (instead of the recommended 7) is there a chance of getting pregnant?

Much thanks!
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