I fell pregnant while I was on my birth control pill

I know that you are reading this post and thinking… what?! How is this possible?

Many women don’t realize that a birth control pill only protects you up to 99% against pregnancy. There is still a 1% chance that you could fall pregnant while on the pill – especially if you are on a very mild pill. This is one of the reasons as to why you need to follow-up your prescription with your gynae when you stop breastfeeding.

Honestly, I am still trying to wrap my head around it but I am writing this post because I want to educate you and inform you that a simple confusion can change things forever and bring you a big surprise. 😉

No don’t get me wrong, I have no regrets. I wish that I could have changed the timing but I know that although I can try and control everything – there are just some things that are meant to be…

I was extremely shocked when I found out that I was pregnant because I did not expect it to happen! I’ve been on the same birth control pill for many years and nothing extraordinary happened!

My husband and I spoke about having another child on many occasions but we both decided that now just wasn’t the right time to even think about this. It was an extremely busy period for us (work wise) and we’ve been traveling a lot overseas.

I always wanted a big family but my husband and I never really agreed on having more than 2 kids mainly because of the financial implications involved. He was very happy with 2 kids – one boy and one girl.

I’ve been on a contraceptive pill from the age of 18 mostly because I used to suffer from severe period cramps – cramps that used to make me black out every month!

birth control pill

After my first child, my doctor changed my birth control pill to a “milder” pill because I was breastfeeding.

I was on this “milder” pill until we decided to have my son which was almost 2 and half years later. The pill never failed me. I breastfed my daughter until my son was born and afterward I went back on my “mild” pill because I was breastfeeding again.

During this time, my menstruation was irregular as expected but early last year my cycle became more regular because I was slowing down with breastfeeding. My son had started drinking formula and since I was traveling so much I thought this was the perfect opportunity to wean him off. However every time I returned home, he went straight on the boob and my milk began to produce again. So, we didn’t totally wean off but we had reduced breastfeeding. It was definitely not as much as much as we used to.

Before I went to New York last year, I picked up my second last prescription for my pill. The pharmacist had informed me that it was time to visit my gynae again because I might need to change my birth control pill. I reassured her that I would do that as soon as I got back from my travels.

birth control pill

During my travels, I took my pill every day but my timing was all wrong since there’s a big-time difference between New York and South Africa. I never bothered anymore to stick to a certain time and took the tablet at odd hours when I remembered too.

When I arrived back in South Africa, I ended up doing the same thing because I was stuck in 2 time zones (jet lag sucks) especially if you have stayed in another country for more than 2 weeks.

I was stressed and busy with work so I did not have time to visit my gynae and I continued with my mild pill. In September, I noticed that I didn’t get my menstruation but I didn’t stress too much because of the breastfeeding, stress and being on the pill. My menstruation was never regular on the pill while breastfeeding.

However, one silly mistake changed everything…

On the 11 of October (My birthday), I decided to take a pregnancy test even though I assumed it would be negative. I started stressing a bit since my mensuration was late again but I knew there was no way I would be pregnant.

I was still taking my birth control pill even though it was at odd times plus I got a morning after pill after one crazy encounter with my hubby on his arrival back from New York, just to be safe. 😉

I took the test and one line was extremely light (you could barely see it). One line was darker than the other so I smiled. I knew I wasn’t pregnant.

A sigh of relief came through as I chucked the test in my bathroom bin before 10 minutes was up.

The test says you should wait up to 10 minutes before you confirm the result but I was so impatient that I never bothered to wait that long.

Later that day, I told my husband about the result but he insisted on having a look to confirm. So, we went into the bathroom and checked the bin. We opened the wrapping and there it was… 2 dark lines!

birth control pill

We both looked at each other stunned! There was no way this was true! He immediately went back to the pharmacy to buy a few more pregnancy tests from different brands. When he arrived back I took one immediately and the result said… 2-3 weeks pregnant!

I stared at it and wasn’t convinced so I decided to take another one the following morning but the result was the same…

I did not realize that taking a birth control pill at different times could have a side effect.

Five things that may cause the birth control pill to become less effective or even fail:

  • Not taking the pill at the same time every day.
  • Missing a dose.
  • Alcohol
  • Antibiotics/seizure medication.
  • Taking a generic form of the pill.

To read more about this, follow this link – www.foxnews.com.

This pregnancy was a total shock but I also knew it was a blessing from God. It has taken me a long time to accept it but now that I have, I’m over the moon!

Ladies, please be careful on the pill and make sure you read the instructions carefully! Visit your gynae on a regular basis for check-ups and change your pill if your gynae suggests you to. The milder pills are not as safe as we think they are and breastfeeding isn’t a contraceptive.


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Hi, I’m Shan. I’m an entrepreneur and a sucker for good adventures. I was listed in Forbes Africa 30 under 30 2019 and just recently launched my start-up – MomSays.

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  1. Tamlyn
    2017-01-04 / 12:46

    Congratulations Shan!! All the best for the next few months!

    • 2017-01-04 / 12:57

      Thank you so much! It’s going really fast.

  2. 2017-01-16 / 22:36

    This is a great story. If you don’t want to get pregnant, it’s important to remember that there are several things that can mess up your birth control.

  3. 2017-01-16 / 22:37

    First of all, congratulations! I’m so happy that you and your husband are happy about this, even if it wasn’t planned. Secondly, yeah. Birth control can be touchy.

  4. Claudia Krusch
    2017-01-17 / 05:30

    A friend of mine got pregnant while on birth control. She can trace it back to a prescription of antibiotics she took that weakens the pill. She was shocked to find out she was expecting.

  5. 2017-01-17 / 10:34

    Congratulations. I took the pill back then and like you, I took it at odd times. There were even times that I had forgotten to take it and would just take it as soon as I remember. Luckily, that worked for me.

  6. 2017-01-18 / 15:42

    Yup, missing a dose may get you pregnant. I also took birth control pills after my son was born but only for a few months. Anyway, congratulations! A baby is definitely a blessing.

  7. 2017-01-18 / 20:04

    Wow – I bet that was a huge surprise. Although the timing may not be what you planned on, it’s definitely a blessing. Congrats girl and hang in there. Looking forward to hearing more about your pregnancy.

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