What's more, taking the Pill continuously or shortening the monthly break may improve its effectiveness as contraception. If taken "perfectly", the chances of pregnancy from the Pill should be close to zero but with "typical use", it is estimated that 9 percent of women experience unwanted pregnancies in the first year of use. According to the new guidelines, shortening this break can slash the likelihood of unwanted pregnancies by reducing the risk of 'escape' ovulation.
"The guideline suggests that by taking fewer hormone-free intervals – or shortening them to four days – it is possible that women could reduce the risk of getting pregnant on combined hormonal contraception," Diana Mansour, vice president for clinical quality at FSRH, told The Independent.
Of course, many women may continue the same pattern of 21 days on and seven days off. These new guidelines offer women that choice as well as the choice to shorten the withdrawal bleed or skip it altogether. Basically, it gives women more jurisdiction over their bodies – and that can only be a good thing.