Women who rely on the Pill as their sole method of contraception need to take their daily dose at the same time every day, otherwise its effectiveness is reduced.
This initially appears to be simple enough, but unless you are one of those women whose spices are alphabetised, chances are that you have had the experience of remembering at 4 pm that you forgot to take it that morning. This oversight could have a huge impact on your life.
Here are some ways to jog your memory daily:
- Set the alarm on your cell phone as a reminder
- Stick the packet of pills to the toothbrush holder with Prestik
- Put it next to the cat food container. Cats are insistent about being fed regularly – use it to jog your memory
- Get a friend or relative to phone you as a reminder if you forget regularly – a Scotch call should be sufficient
- Put it in the cubby hole of the car and take it as you drop your children off at school
- If you watch any soapies, learn to associate the theme tune with taking your pill (Just watch out for weekends, when these programmes are not screened)
- Take it with your morning cup of coffee or tea
- Put it next to your lipstick or hairbrush – chances are that you seldom start the day without these two
- If you work in the city centre of Cape Town, use the Noon Day Gun as a reminder
- If you have a neighbour with an irritating regular habit, such as revving his motorbike every morning at seven o’ clock, use it to jog your memory.
If you do forget to take the pill, it could result in your being unsafe for seven days, according to Sister Lagardien of the Family Planning Youth Health Services. She advises that, if you remember within 12 hours of the time you usually take the pill, to take the missed tablet as soon as possible. If you only remember within 36 hours, you should take all the tablets you missed at once.
In both these cases you should continue to take your pill at the usual time, but also use condoms for seven days to prevent possible pregnancy.
If you have had sexual intercourse during this time, contact your doctor and ask about emergency contraception – generally known as the morning-after pill.
(Susan Erasmus, Health24, updated March 2011)