The NHS has now assured women that it is safe to take the contraceptive pill every day of the month without any risk.
According to the new guidance from the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), the seven-day break that was previously required in order to ‘make it acceptable for Catholics to use’, provides little benefit to the user.
The new guidelines by the body responsible for setting safe prescription guidelines in the UK now state there is no health benefit in taking the historic seven-day break.
The new guidance from the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) has assured women that it is safe to take the contraceptive pill every day of the month
WHAT IS THE COMBINED PILL?
The combined oral contraceptive pill is usually just called ‘the pill’.
It contains the female sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone and works by preventing the ovaries from releasing eggs each month – meaning sperm cannot fertilise them.
The pill is usually taken every day for three weeks then stopped for a week to allow the woman’s period to happen because the womb lining still thickens even if an egg is not released.
The pill is over 99 per cent effective if used properly, meaning fewer than one in 100 women using it will get pregnant.
There is no evidence that the pill makes women gain weight, but it carries a very low risk of causing blood clots or cervical cancer.
The pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
Scientists have added that taking the pill with fewer breaks may even help reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies.
Professor of Family Planning and Reproductive Health at University College London John Guillebaud dismissed the way the pill has been taken for the past 60 years.
He told The Sunday Telegraph: ‘The gynaecologist John Rock devised [the break] because he hoped that the Pope would accept the pill and make it acceptable for Catholics to use.’
In an annual Royal College of General Practitioners conference in 2017 the professor had shared his support for offering the pill every day of the year.
He added: ‘How could it be that for 60 years we have been taking the pill in a sub-optimal way because of this desire to please the Pope?’
The new Nice-approved guidelines will now see leaflets informing women on the effectiveness of taking combined hormonal contraception being given out by the Family Planning Association.
If the guidelines are followed, medical experts can expect to see the contraceptive pill more widely available across the country.
The new guidelines now state there is no health benefit in taking the historic seven-day break, with scientists adding that taking the pill with fewer breaks may even help reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies