When can I start taking the combined pill?
The combined pill can be initiated at any time. If a woman starts the combined pill within 5 days after the start of her monthly bleeding or within 5 days after an abortion, there is no need for a backup method; she will be immediately protected. If it is more than 5 days after the start of her monthly bleeding or an abortion, she can start the combined pill any time, but she will need a backup method for the first 7 days of taking the pills (if she is taking the estradiol valerate/dienogest pill she needs to use a backup method for 9 days). Condoms (male or female) are an excellent back-up method.
After giving birth and if a woman is not breastfeeding, she can start taking the combined pill 3 weeks after giving birth. If she is breastfeeding, she can start the combined pill when the baby is 6 months old. At this point the combined pill won’t interfere with her ability to breastfeed. For a woman who is breastfeeding and whose baby is less than 6 months old, the progestin-only pill is the recommended pill. She should not use a combined pill.46,47