POP (Progestin-Only Pills) Instructions


As their name implies, POPs only contains the hormone progesterone, unlike conventional pills which contain both estrogen and progesterone. POPs have a lower progesterone dose than conventional pills and then failure rate, when used correctly, is 0.3%. It is a reversible birth control method.

How they work: POPs prevent pregnancy by thickening cervical mucus, which prevents sperm from entering the uterus. This effect lasts for 24 hours, and it is important to be constant about taking this pill at the same time each day. These pills do not consistently prevent the release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation).

How to start: POPs can be started at any time if you are reasonably sure you are not pregnant. If you start within the 1st 5 days of your menstrual cycle, a back-up method of birth control is unnecessary. Condoms or other backup methods should be used for the first 2 days if you start at any other time in your cycle.

Proper use: ALL pills in your pack are ACTIVE pills; there are NO sugar pills.

  • Take your pill at the same time every day
  • If you are more than 3 hours late taking your pill, use a backup method (condoms) for the next 2 days
  • Do not skip any pills in the pack even if you are on your period
  • When you complete a pack, start a new pack the next day, even if you are on your period


POPs do not protect against STDs.

If you miss a pill:

  • Take your missed pill ASAP
  • Continue taking your pill daily, at the same time each day, even if it means taking 2 pills on the same day

Use a backup method (condoms) until you have taken your pills correctly, on time, for 2 days in a row.

Common side effects:

  • Irregular bleeding
  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood or sex drive changes