The mini pill

The mini pill is:

  • Over 99% effective when you use the method correctly every time
  • Over 91% effective when you don’t always use the method correctly

What is it?

The mini pill is a progestogen-only pill and has no oestrogen in it. 

You need to take the pill at around the same time every day. You could get pregnant if you do not do this. 

You must take the pills continuously without a 7 day break.

Use another method of contraception if you take the pill late.

How does it work?

The mini-pill releases the artificial form of the hormone progesterone into your body.

It works by:

  • stopping ovulation (an egg being released from your ovaries)
  • thickening the mucus at the neck of the womb (uterus) so it is difficult for sperm to enter the womb
  • thinning the lining of the womb and this prevents a fertilised egg from settling (implanting) in the womb

It is important that you talk to a doctor who will assess what contraceptive option is best for you.


  • It does not interrupt sex.
  • It can be used by women who smoke and over 35.
  • It can be used when breastfeeding.


  • If you miss a pill, or are vomiting or have severe diarrhoea, it can be less effective
  • It may cause irregular periods.
  • Its effectiveness may be reduced by taking certain medications.
  • It does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).