Hello Dr. Hatcher & Team!

My question is in regards to the rule of “taking your pill at the same time every day”.

Due to a medical condition, I have to take my Ocella at bedtime.  I do take my pills RELIGIOUSLY every day, but my bedtime also varies everyday.  It is usually never more than a 4 hour window – meaning I take them between 10:30pm – 2:30am… everyday. 

Reading through your posts, I noticed that there is quite some leeway when it comes to pill-taking.  But, considering my pill-taking habit, am I still getting the full pregnancy protection from the pill or should I consider another method of birth control? 

As always, your advice and assistance is most highly appreciated!

Warm Regards & Happy Holidays

A:        Not a problem.

Yes, that would be an appropriate thing to say in terms of pill effectiveness.  The advantage of “exactly the same time” recommendations is that they mean a woman is not forgetting her pills for multiple days on end (which does happen).

Your pattern of taking pills is not lowering the effectiveness of your pills at all.


Her email reply on 12-6: “A million thanks again for all your help!  You and your team are truly a beacon of truth in the fog that is contraceptive management!    

Happy Holidays to you all!”

Happy New Year and thank you for such nice words.

Robert A. Hatcher MD, MPH

Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics

Emory University School of Medicine

Atlanta, GA