Can Daylight Saving Time Affect Birth Control Schedules? Here’s How To Make Sure It Remains The Same
Get your sleep in while you can: Daylight Saving Time is going to begin on Sunday, Mar. 10, and it's always a difficult thing to adjust to. In the spring, we move the clocks ahead an hour (AKA we "spring forward), meaning that we lose an hour. Sure, we get extra daylight, and the sun starts setting later, but it's still not ideal to have to make up that hour of sleep! And there are other things to consider as well when the clock changes: for example, can Daylight Saving Time affect your birth control schedule? It's definitely a valid question.
Birth control pills work at their absolute best when you take them consistently, at the same exact time every day. Doing so allows there to be enough hormone (either estrogen and progestin, depending on the kind of pill you take) in your system to prevent you from ovulating. FYI, ovulating means you could potentially become pregnant sans another form of birth control, like a condom.
Anyone who takes the pill regularly knows that taking it at a different time or skipping a day completely can really mess with the effectiveness of said pills, and can put you at an increased risk of an unplanned pregnancy. That's probably not what you want! So if the clocks change, does that mean you also need to change the time you're taking your pill?
The answer? No. According to VeryWell, most doctors agree that there's a safe window of time when the effectiveness of your birth control pill won't be compromised. This safe window is about a one to two hour period of time before or after the time you normally take your pill. For example, if you take your pill at 4 p.m. every day, taking it at 3 p.m. or 5:30 p.m. isn't going to put you at an increased risk of getting pregnant. And since Daylight Saving Time only brings us ahead one hour, it won't make your pill less effective.
You'll just want to make sure you keep the difference at about an hour or so (in other words, take the pill at your normal time, even knowing the clocks have changed). As Planned Parenthood points out, a progestin-only pill gives you less wiggle time: "Taking a progestin-only pill more than three hours past your usual time puts you at risk for pregnancy, so if that happens use a back-up method (like condoms) for the following 48 hours (two days)." If you're on a combination pill, which contains both estrogen and progestin, then you have more wiggle room, and a few hours of difference won't be a big deal, as long as it's taken that day.
If you're really worried about the pill's effectiveness, then you can feel free to adjust the time you're taking the pill — so, if you normally take it at 4 p.m., then after Daylight Saving Time, you would take it at 3 p.m. instead. But you probably don't need to be that worried: your pill's effectiveness should be just as fine as long as you keep up your routine.