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The pill

contraceptive pills

The contraceptive pill is a tablet that a woman takes every day. It releases hormones into your body. This prevents you from becoming pregnant. 

Britt Talk about the pill

Is the contraceptive pill suitable for you? In this episode of Britt Talk, Britt and Ellis ask Doctor Rosa everything they want to know about it.

This is how you take the pill

Monophasic and phasic pills: 21-day blister strip

You swallow a pill every day at the same time. After 21 days, there are none left in the blister strip. Then you don’t take any pills for 4-7 days. During this pill-free week, you’ll have a bleed. You’re still protected against pregnancy. After a maximum of 4-7 days, you start a new blister strip. Tip: the pill is more effective if you start again after 4 days.

Every day pills plus the mini pill: 28-day blister strip

You swallow a pill every day at the same time. After 28 days, there are none left in the blister strip. Then you start on a new one. So you don’t have any breaks between pills.

Tips for use

  • Take the pill at the same time every day (except in the pill-free week).
  • Choose a pill that suits you. There are different types of pills.
  • Carefully read the instruction leaflet.
  • If you have diarrhoea or vomit within 3 hours of taking a pill – take another one quickly!

Different types and brands

There are different types of pills with different names. Most pills are combined pills. They contain the hormones oestrogen and progesterone.

Ask your doctor which pill best suits your needs. Contact Sense if you find it hard to make a choice.

Where can you get the pill?

You can ask your doctor for a prescription or repeat prescription for the pill. With this, you can get the pill from a pharmacy. Some Sense clinics and GGD health centres also write prescriptions for the pill. If you’d rather go there than to your own doctor, check the addresses to see if there is one in your area.


  • You don’t want to bleed every 4 weeks? 
    Then you could skip the pill-free week. That means you just continue to take the pills.
  • Do you want your period to be shorter?
    Just shorten the pill-free week and start taking pills again sooner. You’ll then bleed less. The pill is still reliable and it won’t affect your health. 
  • Are you not sure what to do? Go to your doctor or ask Sense.

Not 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.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • If you use the pill correctly, it’s very reliable.
  • You’ll know when there will be bleeding.
  • You can plan your bleed whenever you want.
  • You’ll often have less pain during a bleed.
  • Sometimes you’ll have less acne.


  • You might forget to take the pill.
  • Sometimes you may have side effects.
  • The pill doesn’t protect against STIs.

Are there any side effects?

When you start taking the pill, you might have some side effects. That’s because your body has to get used to the hormones the pill contains. Possible side effects are:

  • headaches
  • irregular blood loss
  • painful breasts
  • nausea
  • low moods
  • weight gain
  • reduced sex drive

Usually, the side effects disappear after a couple of months. If you’re having trouble with side effects, get in touch with your doctor or a Sense clinic.

When do you run the risk of pregnancy?

  • You’ve forgotten to take the pill.
  • You started your new strip too late (so your pill-free week is longer than 7 days).
  • You’ve had diarrhoea or vomited.
  • You haven’t taken the pill for a while because you haven’t had sex.


Remember: the pill doesn’t protect against STIs. To prevent STIs, you need to use condoms.