What is it and how does it work?
The combined pill is also known as the Pill. There are many different types, but all contain two hormones: oestrogen and progestogen.
The Pill is more than 99 per cent effective if taken according to instructions. This means that using this method, fewer than one woman in 100 will get pregnant in a year.
The Pill can be started up to and including the fifth day of a period and immediately protects against pregnancy. If started on any other day, an extra method of contraception must also be used for seven days.
The main way the Pill works is by stopping the ovaries releasing an egg each month (ovulation).
It also stops sperm reaching the egg by thickening the mucus from the cervix and stops an egg from settling in the womb. A pill is taken every day for 21 days until the pack is finished. Then you have a seven-day break when you get a bleed. The next pack is started on the eighth day. Every day (ED) pills have 21 active pills and seven placebo tablets. These are taken all the time without a break.