Your contraceptive pill must be taken every 24 hours and it’s better to take it early rather than late.1-5 If you are travelling between different time zones and the time difference means you would have to take your pill in the middle of the night, take it before you go to bed instead of in the morning.
You could also take a second watch and set it to the time back home to help you stick to your normal pill-taking routine. Alternatively you could calculate the time difference and set a repeat reminder in your phone for the correct time to take it.
Another option is to adjust to your travel destination’s time. Say, for instance, that your destination is 6 hours behind the time at home and that you normally take the pill at 7pm. Six days before you leave, start taking your pill an hour earlier each day. On your day of departure you’ll be taking the medication at 1pm. Once on board, adjust your watch forward to the destination time and the next time you take a pill it will be 7pm – you’re normal time back home. All you have to do is remember to take your pill as usual.
Ensure that when travelling, you take sufficient quantities of your pill and your regular medication in their original packaging to cover your trip and any short delays.
Is deep vein thrombosis more of a risk if you are taking the pill when travelling?
The use of any combined oral contraceptive increases the risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE).1-5
VTE is a condition that includes both deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE). DVT is the formation of a blood clot in a deep vein—usually in the leg or pelvic veins.⁴ Prolonged and temporary immobilisation such as long-haul flights of more than 4 hours, can increase the risk of DVT particularly in women with other risk factors.1-24-5
To avoid the potential for DVT when flying, exercise your lower legs regularly while seated and take frequent walks in the cabin. Try to secure an aisle seat so you can get up and move about the cabin more frequently. You should avoid taking sleeping pills. Properly fitted graduated compression stockings will reduce the potential for DVT among those at higher risk, including women taking the pill.