7 Hacks That Will Help You Remember To Take Your Birth Control
Although there are a variety of birth control options for women, the Pill remains the most common birth control choice for women worldwide, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). When the Pill is used perfectly, meaning every single day at the exact same time, it's 99 percent effective. However, when it comes to typical use, how it's often effective it is in reality, it's 91 percent effective. While that's still a decent percentage, it does mean that nine out of every 100 users of the Pill will get pregnant.
“The most important thing about hormonal contraception is that you have to be good about taking it,” Dr. Lauren F. Streicher, MD, clinical associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, tells Bustle. “The pill that is most important to not miss is the first pill of the pack.”
But in life, where anything can happen, taking the Pill isn't always as easy as it seems it should be. From busy schedules, to unexpected snafus, to simple forgetfulness, things can get in the way. Although missing a Pill or two isn't, necessarily, the end of the world, it can throw your body for a loop and, even if you don't get pregnant, give you one hell of a scare.
Because no one wants a pregnancy scare, here are seven hacks, according to experts, to help you remember to take your birth control pill... other than setting the alarm on your phone.
1. Sign Up For A Reminder App
If you're the type of person who instinctively reaches for the snooze option on your phone whenever it goes off, then setting an alarm might not be the best option. Good thing we have reminder apps! Lady Pill Reminder is just that: a pill reminder. It not only reminds you when you're supposed to take the Pill, but keeps track of all period-related things. For example, if you spot in between your period, which is normal for some women, it lets you make a note of it, among other things.
2. Put Them In Your Wallet
“Get rid of that big bulky pack and put the pill pack in your wallet — always have it with you,” says Dr. Streicher.
Because you never really know where you might be the next time you're due to take your pill, if you carry them with you at all times, you have a constant reminder every time you put your hand into your bag or wallet. Also, you won't have an excuse not to take them if they're pretty much glued to you.
3. Make It Part Of Your Daily Routine
"Morning routines can help provide a foundation for your mental health throughout the day," Monique Castro, a psychotherapist and owner of Indigenous Circle of Wellness, tells Bustle. "This includes an increase in positive mood, a decrease in anxiety, and overall gives way to a more satisfying day."
Since having a morning routine is so important and, whether you want to admit to it or not, human beings like structure, adding your birth control pill to your routine will make it easier to remember it. If every morning you take the pill before you brush your teeth, but after you shower, it will become like clockwork.
4. Choose A Reasonable Time To Take It
However, it's important to take your morning routine into consideration and decide what's actually manageable. If you have to get up every morning, Monday through Friday, at 6 a.m., you probably want to sleep in on the weekends. Because of this, you want to choose a time to take your pill that's reasonable every day of the week. Taking it at 6 a.m. all week long, then taking it in the afternoon on the weekends, isn't how you're supposed to take birth control pills.
“What I tell people is to set your phone for a reminder time that you will be awake every day of the week, like noon, a time you know you are consistently going to be around,” says Dr. Streicher.
5. Try A Birth Control Pill Tracker
Whereas Lady Pill Reminder's main purpose is to remind, Planned Parenthood's Spot On Period Tracker offers more than just a reminder. From making sure you're on top of your pills (or whatever other hormonal contraception you might be using), to tracking your moods and menstrual-related physical pains, to letting you know when you're most fertile, should the time come that you want to have a baby, PP's app really does it all.
6. Keep Them Where You Can See Them
There's no shame in being sexually active and being responsible about it. So, why hide your pills? If you keep your pills out where you can see them, as opposed to tucked in a drawer somewhere, you're less likely to forget. Also, as Dr. Streicher says, it's a good idea to buy a year's supply of pills, if your insurance allows it. A years supply of birth control pills piled up on your nightstand is going to make forgetting to take them pretty damn hard.
7. Revert To Old School Paper Reminders
While it may not be the most technologically advanced way to remind yourself to take your pill, Post-It notes never fail. From a Post-It note on your nightstand, to your bathroom mirror, to the fridge, to the door handle so you have to actually touch the note on your way out the door, you can stick those notes anywhere and everywhere. The likelihood of you forgetting anything when you're up against a trail of Post-It notes isn't very likely. Also, from a psychological standpoint, when we write something down, we're more likely to remember it. So between writing it down and posting it, it's one of those win-win scenarios.
We live in a day and age where reminders are plentiful and there's a reminder type for everybody. So if what you're using to remember to take your pill isn't working, try one of these tricks. Eventually you'll find something that works for you and your pill-forgetting days will be behind you.