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Date of last update: 10/14/2017.

Forum Name: Obstetrics

Question: how can I be pregnant?

 Gueniviere - Tue Apr 24, 2007 3:02 pm

I'm a 37 yo female who's been on the Pill for years. I understand that it works by preventing ovulation If that's correct, then how can one get pregnant by missing a pill if I don't ovulate?

The reason I ask is b/c for the first time EVER I missed 2 pills and had unprotected sex b/c I didn't realize i had missed 2 pills. What is the liklihood that I am pregnant?
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Tue Apr 24, 2007 3:47 pm

User avatar The rational behind using oral contraceptives is that the hormone in the pill "overrides" the bodies natural hormone levels causing the hormones FSH and LH to be suppressed. This suppression prevents the surge of LH that is involved in ovulation, thus preventing ovulation.

If one misses taking the birth control pill, the levels of estrogen or progesterone may drop below the threshold for suppression and allow the body to "take over" again. At this point, ovulation may occur and the chance of pregnancy increases.

While the likelihood is less than not using the oral contraceptive at all, the chance of pregnancy does go up.

The general recommendation if you have missed more than one pill is to start a new pack of birth control pills and use an alternative method of contraception for the next month.

If your menses are not on time as expected you should take a pregnancy test.

Best wishes.
 Gueniviere - Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:00 pm

and the risk of pregnancy can go up as quickly as 1 or 2 days without a pill? I can ovulate that quickly?
 Debbie Miller, RN - Tue Apr 24, 2007 4:55 pm

User avatar It would depend on when in your cycle the missed days occurred, but yes, it is possible and it has happened to others. Missing one day is not as likely to result in ovulation but two or more does raise your risk. If you miss a day, you should take the missed dose along with the regular dose on the day you remember. If you only miss one, the likelihood of pregnancy is not great so you don't need a backup method of birth control - just take two the next day when you remember. With two or more missed, you would be wise to use a backup until you start your next package of pills.

I hope this is clear for you. Let us know if you don't understand it - I know it sounds complicated.
 Gueniviere - Tue Apr 24, 2007 5:18 pm

it helps a lot I was just very confused about how it actually all happens (at my age I should know I guess). I missed 2 pills at the end of the first week of my new pack. according to the ovulation tool I used, I was ripe for the fertilizing (if I wasn't on the pill) at the time I had the unprotected sex. I just couldn't wrap my brain around being fertile so quickly.

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