how are you still protected on birth control during the placebo week?


hi yes I’m aware you are never fully protected on birth control, but how does it work during the placebo week? what are the placebo pills still doing or not doing? thanks!

In: Biology

The placebo week is the week a woman cannot get pregnant due to her cycle. It is HIGHLY unlikely she will get pregnant that week. I would suggest a simple class in sex education if you’re not aware of this.

Fertility proceeds in the order (typically) of thickening of the uterine lining, release of an egg, and then susceptibility to fertilization.

The hormones in birth control strongly suppress release of the egg and thickening of the uterine lining by mimicking the pregnancy signals after fertilization. During the placebo week the uterine lining is not developed and will not signal the release of an egg (and would not be able to accept it even if one were released). The “period” during the placebo week is not a normal period.

It takes time for this to return to normal fertility after stopping birth control. Under normal circumstances, ovulation doesn’t occur until 14 days after the beginning of the uterine development (i.e., 14 days after the “period”), and it’s often much delayed when you’ve been on birth control.

A woman’s cycle starts the first day of her period. She will generally ovulate somewhere between 12-14 days after the start of the period. Birth control pills prevent ovulation. The placebo week induces a period but no egg was ever released thereby preventing pregnancy as long as the pills are taken as directed.

If you take your other pills on time when you’re supposed to the rest of the month, you’ll get your period during the time of the placebo pills. When I was on the pill, my doctor told me I could skip the placebo pills and go into the next pack if I didn’t want my period. I think while your taking the bc pills you won’t get your period, therefore they have you go off for 7 days so your period will come.

The other post explain how it work but not why the placebo are there. You could remove them and do nothing for a week but then you need to remember to star taking the pills again a week later and that is not that hard to miss and if you did for few days then you start to risk getting pregnant.

So the placebo pill is there so you can follow a routine and take a pill a day each day without any break. That is a lot simple to follow and the explanation for them. So they are a memory aid.