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FACT SHEET The Mini Pill (Progesterone Only Pill) – Your Questions Answered What is the Mini Pill? The Mini Pill contains a very small amount of only one hormone, progestogen. It is more correctly called the Progestogen-Only Pill. It must be taken at the same time every day. Unlike the combined pill there are no hormone-free or pill-free days. How does the Mini Pill work? The Mini Pill prevents pregnancy mainly by thickening the mucus at the cervix so that sperm cannot get through to meet an egg. It also changes the lining of the uterus, but it usually will not stop the release of an egg each month. Will it work immediately? If the Mini Pill is started with within the first 5 days of the menstrual cycle (where day one is the first day of your period), then it will be effective immediately. If the Mini Pill is started at another time during your menstrual cycle, it will be effective in 48 hours, after you have taken 3 pills. Another form of contraception (such as condoms) should be used during this time to avoid unplanned pregnancy. You should only start the Mini Pill in this way after talking with your doctor to ensure you may not already be pregnant. How effective is it? If the Mini Pill is taken correctly at the same time every day, it can be 99% effective in preventing pregnancy but, because this may be difficult for some women to remember, with typical use it is 92% effective. It is very important that the Mini Pill be taken at the same time every day within 3 hours. The Mini Pill may also be more effective if taken at the opposite time that you usually have sex. For example, if you usually have sex at night it is best taken in the morning. How long will it last? The Mini Pill will provide contraception only for as long as you continue to take it correctly every day. You can fall pregnant within days of stopping the Mini Pill. What are the side effects? There are very few side effects with the Mini Pill, but it is fairly common to have spot bleeding between periods or an irregular bleeding pattern, or periods may stop all together in some women. A small number of women occasionally experience headaches or tender breasts but this usually settles in a few weeks.



If the Mini Pill fails there is a slightly higher risk that the pregnancy may be ectopic (the pregnancy grows outside the uterus, such as in the tube). If you think you may be pregnant, contact your Marie Stopes International centre on Freecall 1800 303 707 or your doctor. Who should not take the Mini Pill? There are few circumstances and medical conditions where you should not use the Mini Pill. You should inform your doctor if you: • • • •

have or have had breast cancer have had a history of any unusual vaginal bleeding have disturbed liver function are taking any medications, especially for epilepsy Your Marie Stopes International doctor will talk with you about the Mini Pill and help you decide whether it is the best contraceptive method for you. What if I am breastfeeding? The Mini Pill is considered safe in breastfeeding once your infant is 6 weeks old and is a popular short-term method of contraception while breastfeeding. What if I forget a pill?

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If you forget a Mini Pill or are more than three hours late taking it: take one pill as soon as possible take the next pill at the usual time. You will need to use condoms or not have sex for the next 48 hours. What else should I consider?

If you have diarrhoea or vomit within 2 hours after taking a pill continue taking the Mini Pill as normal, but the rules for missed pills should be followed. • If you are taking antibiotics you should use additional contraception, such as condoms, during the treatment and for 48 hours after the antibiotic has been stopped. • The Mini Pill offers no protection against STIs or HIV/AIDS •

Where can I get it? A doctor’s prescription is necessary to obtain the Mini Pill. You can get this from a Marie Stopes International Centre, your local doctor or a family planning centre. How much does it cost? The cost of the Mini Pill is around $20–30 for 4 months supply (less if you have a health care card). DON’ FORGET YOUR REGULAR BREAST CHECKS AND BE SUE TO HAVE A PAP SMEAR EVERY TWO YEARS