When Is The Best Time To Start Your Birth Control Pills?

In this article, we discuss when to start taking your birth control pills and the difference between a "Sunday Starter" and a "First Day Starter".


When should I start to take my birth control pills? I am new to taking this.

Asked by Gina On Nov 07, 2017

Answered by
Medical Content Reviewed By PharmacistAnswers Staff

On Nov 08, 2017

When To Start Taking Birth Control PillsWhen starting on birth control pills, there are two methods you can use to begin taking them. You can choose to be a "First Day Starter" or a "Sunday Starter" and there are benefits to both ways.

Sunday Starter

To use this method, begin taking your birth control pills on the Sunday after your last menses (i.e. 'period'). For example, if your period begins on Wednesday, start taking your birth control pills that Sunday. There are two positives of being a "Sunday Starter":


  • Ease of schedule: Starting your birth control pills on a Sunday can be easier to remember as you continue on month to month. 

  • Period Free Weekend: While not always the case, most women begin to have their period 2 to 4 days after taking their last birth control pill in the pack. Being a Sunday starter increases the likelihood that you will not be on your period during the weekend. This can certainly vary person to person however.


  • Back Up Contraception: When starting birth control pills for the first time, you need to use backup contraception for 7 days if you choose to be a "Sunday Starter" to prevent unplanned pregnancy. This period of backup contraception is necessary for the hormones in the birth control pills to reach effective concentrations in the body.

Day One Starter

To use this method, begin taking your birth control pills on the first day of your menses (i.e. 'period'). For example, if your period begins on Wednesday, start taking your birth control pills that day. 


  • Back Up Contraception: There is no need to use backup contraception if you are a day one starter.


  • Period Free Weekend: You may get your period during the weekend when using this method, but as mentioned above, it varies by person.

You can feel comfortable using either method to start taking your birth control pills. One way typically isn't recommended over the other, just use whichever method works best for you.

If you choose to be a 'Day One Starter", most birth control packs come with removable stickers that list the days of the week. You can simply place the appropriate weekly sticker on your birth control pills to easily remind you of your weekly schedule.

About the Pharmacist

Dr. Brian Staiger Pharm.D

Dr. Brian Staiger is a licensed pharmacist in New York State and the founder of PharmacistAnswers.com. He graduated from the University At Buffalo with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2010. He has been featured in numerous publications including the Huffington Post as well as a variety of health and pharmacy-related blogs. Please feel free to reach out to him directly if you have any inquiries or want to connect! He's answered thousands of medication and pharmacy-related questions and he's ready to answer yours! Brian.Staiger@PharmacistAnswers.com Office: 716-389-3076

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