What are the chances a missed period indicates that someone has become pregnant on the contraceptive pill?


Quick Answer

The chances of becoming pregnant on the combined oral or progestin-only contraceptive pill are as high as 9 percent, depending on the user's actions, according to United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. How effective the pill is depends on the user using it correctly.

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Full Answer

When someone uses the contraceptive pill correctly, the failure rate falls to 0.3 percent. Scientists measuring the pill's accuracy base it on the number of women per 100 who experience a pregnancy while using it for a year. In order to make the contraceptive pill more effective, the person taking it should follow the instructions on the patient information leaflet exactly.

Women who are looking for a contraceptive with a lower failure rate may wish to try:

  • The contraceptive implant, which inserts into the arm and lasts for 3 years. Its failure rate is 0.3 percent.
  • A contraceptive injection, which lasts for 3 months and has a failure rate of 6 percent.
  • The copper intrauterine device, or IUD, which lasts for up to 10 years and has a failure rate of 0.8 percent.
  • The levenorgestrel IUD, which lasts for 5 years and has a failure rate of 0.2 percent.
  • There are permanent methods of birth control, such as sterilization for both men and women.
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