Do you ovulate on the pill?

You do not ovulate on the combined pill (which is made up of two hormones: estrogen and progesterone).

The combined pill prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation and creates a mucus plug in your cervix to prevent sperm from entering your uterus. It also thins the lining of your uterus.

When you have a pill-free break, you may get a bleed similar to a period- this is called a withdrawal bleed because you have stopped taking your regular hormones for a few days. It is not a real period and does not mean you have ovulated.

The progestogen only pill (which is made up of one hormone: progesterone) works in a very similar way to the combined pill (stops ovulation, creates a mucus plug in the cervix and thins the lining of the uterus) but for a small number of people (about 4 in 10) they may still ovulate on the progesterone only pill. They will still be protected from pregnancy.

Last updated at: 02 February 2024
Published on: 12 August 2022