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An illustration of a birth control pill pack.

Illustration by Benedickt J. Scheckenback

Reading time: 6 min

How to use Clue if you’re on the hormonal birth control pill

Use Clue to track your pills, set reminders, and more

Updated November 6, 2020.

If you’re on the pill, Clue can remind you when to take it, tell you what to do if you miss a pill (or two), let you know when your next “period” (withdrawal bleeding) is due, and help you keep track of any side-effects or symptoms you may be experiencing. Here’s how:

1. Set your birth control in your Clue profile 

There are a couple of ways to set your birth control pill type.

  1. If you have an email tied to your Clue account, you can set it by going to your profile from the Menu tab. Tap on your name and email. This takes you to your Profile screen where you can set your birth control type. 

  2. Another way to select your birth control type is by setting up your birth control pill notifications which is explained in the next section.

Animated screenshots showing how to change your birth control settings in Clue.

2. Set your pill pack start day

After selecting your Pill Type and Pill Pack, you can select your Current Pack Start date. This ensures that your Current Pack Start date is synced with the same days as you’re getting reminded by the Clue app and taking your pills on the correct days at the same time each day for more effectiveness. 

Screenshots of how to set the start date for your pill pack.

3. Set a reminder to take your birth control pill 

Need reminders to take your birth control pills on time each day? Here’s how to set them up:

  1. From the Cycle View home screen, tap on the Menu icon in the lower right-hand corner of your screen. 

  2. Tap on Reminders. You’ll have the option of activating your birth control reminder as well as other reminders on this screen.

  3. Tap on the Birth Control reminder, then select your Pill Type, and Pill Pack. Your pill type will either be a Combined pill or a Mini-pill. If you’re unsure of the type, check the package or your prescription. (Note: If your pill has the word ‘[ethinyl] estradiol’ as an ingredient, it’s likely a combined pill. Check with your prescribing healthcare provider to be sure.)

  4. The Pill Pack selection will determine your notification frequency for when to take the hormonal pills and the placebo pills. Here, you have the option to select among 28 pills, 21 pills, or “Other”. If you select “Other” you’ll still be able to set reminders.

Animated screenshots showing how to set reminders in your Clue app.

4. How to track when you take your birth control pill

Add birth control pill tracking in your Clue app

You’re almost ready to track! But first, make sure that you have the birth control pill tracking category enabled. To add the pill tracking category, go your Menu screen, Tap Tracking Options, and scroll down to the Medical section, and turn the toggle on next to the “Pill” option. 

When you return to your Cycle View home screen and tap the Add button, you’ll be able to see the pill category like so: 

You’re ready to start tracking birth control in Clue. Your Cycle View screen will show dots indicating the days that your hormonal birth control pills should be taken. When you take a pill on time, track it as “Taken”; if you take your pill late, track it as “Late”; if you forget to take a pill, track it as “Missed”; if you take two pills at once because you missed the previous day, track it as “Double”. Don’t forget to also track other cycle-related or symptoms such as breast pain, cravings, and digestion, and more. 

5. Your Clue Cycle View and hormonal birth control

While you're taking hormonal birth control, your predicted ovulation day will not be displayed. Hormones from your pill prevent your body from ovulating, therefore, your predicted day of ovulation will never be shown. Once you’ve set the number of pills in your pack, you’ll be able to see when your next “period” (withdrawal bleeding) will happen. Don’t forget to set a reminder for this as mentioned above.

6. What to do if you accidentally miss or forget to take a pill(s)

Combined hormonal pills

A pill is considered late if you take it less than 24 hours after your scheduled time. A pill is considered missed if you take it more than 24 hours after your scheduled time (1,2). 

If you miss two pills in a row (so no pill within 48 hours), you’ll need to use a backup method of birth control (e.g. condoms) for seven days while taking your usual pill correctly (,1,2). If you miss two or more pills in a row, you may be unprotected from pregnancy. Record any missed pills as “missed” in Clue to get help in understanding what to do next.

If you’re still unsure of what to do if you’ve forgotten to take one of your pills, here’s a quick overview:

Chart detailing what you can do if you forget to take a pill.

Progestin-only pills

If a progestin-only pill is taken over 3 hours later than it should have been taken it is considered missed. If you do miss a pill, take it as soon as you remember, even if you end up taking two pills on the same day. Use back-up birth control for the next 2 days or avoid having sex during that time (1,2). Progestin-only pills (mini-pills) are more time sensitive than combined hormonal pills. If you have trouble remembering to take your pill at the same time every day, progestin-only pills may not provide the safest protection against pregnancy for you. 

7. What to do if you skip your placebo pills or skip your “period” (withdrawal bleeding)

If you’re taking the birth control pill, it’s fine to skip your "period" by starting a new pack of active pills on the day you would start your placebo pills or pill-free week.

There are many reasons why people choose to skip these “periods.” such as convenience (e.g. a hot date or vacation), symptom relief, or just personal preference.

Here’s how to tell Clue you skipped your placebo pill or break:

First, adjust your pill pack start date to show the day that you started your new pack of pills:

  1. Go to the menu.

  2. Tap the top of the screen where it shows your name and email address, or ‘no account’.

  3. Scroll down and tap birth control.

  4. Tap “Starting on” and then change the date to the correct date of when you started your current pill pack.

  5. Tap the back arrow in the top left of the screen to return to the main menu.

Next, exclude the resulting long cycle (the one when you skipped your period). You will notice that Clue shows a very long cycle due to skipping your period. You can exclude this by going to the Analysis view, tapping the long cycle you want to exclude, and choosing “Exclude this cycle.” This means that your averages and predictions won’t be affected.

Clue can help you become more aware of your body’s unique patterns and symptoms so you can live better. If you have any more questions about tracking your birth control,  send us a message on Twitter or Instagram or email us here: support@helloclue.com

For more of our best tracking tips, check out this guide.

Happy tracking!

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