Daylight Saving Time and Your Birth Control Pill

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For maximum pregnancy prevention, you're supposed to take your birth control pill at about the same time every day, whether you take progestin-only or combo pills. That ensures your body has enough hormone to keep you from ovulating.

You've probably been told that If you forget a pill or take it earlier or later than usual, the pill could become less effective. So, when it comes to daylight saving time, you may wonder about the timing of your birth control.

Packages of birth control pills with calendar background
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Spring Forward

Say you always take your pill at 10 p.m. When daylight saving time goes into effect and the clocks "spring forward" an hour, you should still be fine taking your pill when the clock says it's 10 p.m.—even though it's not 24 hours after your last one.

Most medical professionals agree you have about a 1-hour to 2-hour window for taking your birth control pill without compromising its effectiveness. This means if you take it an hour earlier or an hour later than usual, it should still work just fine.

So if you always take your pill at 10 p.m., you can take it when the clock says 10 p.m. rather than adjusting for daylight savings).

If you'd rather be super-cautious, you can always adjust your pill-taking time. This means, at the beginning of daylight saving time, you'd switch from 10 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Really want to keep your "usual" time? After your placebo week is over and you begin a new pack of pills, you can go back to taking them at your "normal" time—such as 10 p.m.

Fall Back

When daylight saving time is over (and the clock is moved back one hour), it may be wise to just take your pill one hour earlier than you normally would to ensure your hormone level doesn't drop too much.

You can always go back to taking the pill at your “regular” time when you begin your next pack of pills (after the placebo week is over).

Although taking your pill an hour earlier or later generally does not matter, taking your pill one hour earlier (as opposed to one hour later than usual), is a slightly better option.

Also, when it comes to changing times, keep in mind that computer software programs and smartphones will usually—but not always—automatically update the time.

If you rely on a reminder email/text, your phone's alarm, or a birth control app to remind you to take your pill, make sure your devices have adjusted the time for the start or end of Daylight Saving Time.


Since World War I, daylight saving time has been used in the United States and in many European countries. During daylight saving time, you advance your clocks during the spring/summer months by one hour. This allows daylight to last an hour longer.

Places that follow daylight saving time will move their clocks forward one hour near the start of spring and adjust them back to standard time in autumn. You'll see the terms "spring forward" and "fall back" when referring to this.

Daylight saving time was not formally adopted in the US until 1918—on March 19, 1918, an official bill was created with the intent to preserve daylight and provide standard time for the United States.

After World War I ended, the bill was not very popular, and President Wilson ended the bill—but allowed each state to decide whether or not to observe daylight saving time (and when it started and ended). This created a lot of confusion.

In order to create one pattern across the country, President Lyndon Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act of 1966 into law on April 13, 1966. It established a uniform period to observe daylight saving time while allowing states to be exempt from it by passing a state law.

Start and End

Most of the U.S. begins daylight saving time at 2 a.m. on the second Sunday in March and goes back to standard time on the first Sunday in November.

In the spring, clocks "spring forward" from 1:59 a.m. to 3 a.m.—in the fall, clocks "fall back" from 1:59 a.m. to 1 a.m. Each time zone in the U.S. switches at a different time. The following states and U.S. territories do NOT observe daylight saving time:

  • Arizona
  • Hawaii
  • American Samoa
  • Guam
  • Puerto Rico
  • The Virgin Islands
  • The Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands

The beginning and ending of daylight saving time can sometimes be confusing and may cause problems when traveling, with sleep, and/or with taking medication (like the pill).

A Word From Verywell

When it comes to daylight saving time, there is really no reason to become overly anxious about adjusting when you take your pill. As long as you're still taking your pill within an hour of when you normally do, put your worries away!

The most important point to remember is that you will have maximum protection as long as you take the pill at about the same time every day.

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4 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Contraception, birth control methods. Updated November 1, 2019.

  2. Planned Parenthood. Can daylight savings time mess up the effectiveness of my birth control pills? Updated 2014.

  3. Prerau, D. Seize the daylight: the curious and contentious story of daylight saving time. New York, New York: Basic Books; 2009.

  4. Beagan, G, Wegman C. Daylight saving time 2019 ends Sunday: It's not plural and was never about the farmers. USA Today. Updated October 31, 2019.

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