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The contraceptive pill and period delay

The contraceptive pill and period delay

If you are already on the combined contraceptive pill, you will probably be able to take two packets back-to-back to delay your period by three weeks. You will get your period at the end of the second packet.

This can be very useful for those times in which it would be inconvenient to get your period, such as holidays, athletic events, exams or special occasions.

When can I use the contraceptive pill to delay my period?

Most brands of the combined contraceptive pill can be used to delay your period if you have already been taking it for several weeks. You should not use the contraceptive pill to delay your period by simply starting to take the pill shortly before your period is due.

Taking two packets of the pill back-to-back artificially sustains the levels of hormones in your body. This delays the shedding of your womb lining, and therefore the onset of your period.

You can take up to three packets back to back. However some women do experience breakthrough bleeding or spotting and can feel bloated.

Most combined contraceptive pills can be taken back-to-back to delay your period including Yasmin. Phasic pills, however, contain different quantities of hormones in each pill, and you should consult your doctor before taking more than one packet in succession.

Women on the mini pill normally take one pill every day, with no seven-day break. It is therefore impossible to use the mini pill to delay your period.

How can I delay my period if I am not already taking the combined contraceptive pill?

Norethisterone is a prescription-only medicine which can be used to delay your period by up to 17 days. You can ask a GP about getting a prescription for this. 

Some women are not suitable to take Norethisterone, and therefore if you choose to order it online you will be asked to complete a questionnaire about your personal and family medical history. This will be assessed by one of our doctors before they prescribe the period delay pill.

Norethisterone contains the hormone progesterone, which prevents your womb lining from shedding. You should start to take it three days before your period is due to start, and continue to take it three times a day for up to 17 days. You will get your period two to three days after you stop taking Norethisterone. 

Please bear in mind that Norethisterone is not a contraceptive, and cannot be used to prevent pregnancy.

Looking for contraception?

Go to our contraception service



Authors and editors

Reviewed and updated by: Our clinical team Date reviewed: 22-09-2023