Skipping or shortening a pill free week

A pill-free week lasts 7 days.  This means you take a pill for 21 days, and then skip the next 7 days.  

Want to skip the pill-free week?

You can skip your pill-free week and continue to take the pill after 21 days.  This is no problem at all. 

Strip with 21 pills

Remember: you can only skip or shorten the pill-free week if your pill strip contains 21 pills that are exactly the same. Do you take a different kind of pill? Then read the instruction leaflet or talk to your public health nurse or doctor.

Shorter pill-free break

You can also stop taking the pill for less than 7 days. So you could, for example, stop for 4 days and then start taking the pill again. Some girls do this to have less problems with the bleeding. 

Never stop for more than 7 days!

Don’t make the pill-free break longer than 7 days, ever. If you stop taking the pill for longer than a week, you’re no longer protected against pregnancy.

Not for a real period

In the pill-free week you’ll bleed a bit. It seems like a period and it feels like that too, but you’re not really menstruating. How does that work? 

Every month there is a new egg in your uterus. This happens during ovulation. During a proper period, that egg is discarded. If you take the pill properly, you don’t ovulate. So there’s no egg to be discarded. That’s why you’re not really having a period, just a small bleed.