Posted: January 29, 2019 Contributor: Maddie Quinn
Birth Control Placebo Tablets Not Medically Necessary, Created To Appease Pope
New evidence suggests that women can safely take the birth control pill without a seven-day break, and the placebo tablets were really just to appease the Pope.
Have you ever felt guilty about skipping those placebo tablets and starting your next pack of birth control right away? If you’re like me, you might have thought to yourself, “okay next month I’ll definitely have a period,” and then you just end up putting it off indefinitely.
Birth Control 7-Day Break Deemed Not Medically Necessary
Good news! For all those period procrastinators out there, you were doing it right all along. As it turns out, women can safely take the birth control pill without a seven-day break after all. That’s right—you can skip your period altogether and forget the cramps, nausea, acne, and all the other inconvenient symptoms.
In the past, doctors advised most women to take birth control for 21 days and stop for seven days before starting a new pack. This causes a woman to have a bleed once a month, simulating a period. However, this simulated period is not medically necessary and was developed by one birth control’s inventors, John Rock.
History of Birth Control Placebo Tablets
John Rock was one of the gynecologists who invented the Pill, and he also happened to be a devout Catholic. In an effort to please the Catholic Church and gain the Pope’s endorsement, he created this 7-day break to simulate a period.
Professor John Guillebaud, a contraception expert at University College London, said John Rock proposed the 7-day placebo tablets in the 1950s “because he hoped that the Pope would accept the pill and make it acceptable for Catholics to use.” In other words, Dr. Rock thought that a simulated period would seem more “natural” and would make birth control an easier pill for the Pope to swallow (pun intended).
The Pope Was Not Amused
The sad irony of the situation is, Dr. Rock’s plan didn’t work. In the end, the Pope came out strongly against birth control. Despite this, the 7-day break stuck and has been affecting women for the last 60 years. Guillebaud added, “How could it be that for 60 years, we have been taking the pill in a sub-optimal way because of this desire to please the Pope?”
“How could it be that for 60 years, we have been taking the pill in a sub-optimal way because of this desire to please the Pope?”
As it turns out, taking birth control continuously can actually be more effective in preventing pregnancy. Why? You’re much less likely to miss a pill when restarting a new pack.
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