Progestogen-only pill (POP)

A daily tablet to prevent pregnancy


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A short-acting family planning method

The progestogen-only pill (POP) is a tablet that contains one hormone, progestogen, and is taken daily to prevent pregnancy.

The hormone makes it harder for the man’s sperm to get into the womb and may also change the lining of the womb so an egg cannot develop in it.


92%. If one hundred women used the pill for a year, then 92 of those women would not fall pregnant during that period.

Some women forget to take the pill every day, which can increase the risk of unplanned pregnancy.


At the Family Health Clinic in Dili and through outreach teams in the municipalities where we work.


Free through outreach, and at a small cost at the Family Health Clinic.

Call the Family Health Clinic on 3322 841 for more information on price.

Progestogen-only pill (POP) advantages

The pill can offer advantages as a method of contraception.

  • As commonly used correctly, the pill is 92% effective at preventing pregnancy.
  • May be suitable for women who do not want to or cannot take estrogen (contained in the combined pill) for health reasons.
  • May be suitable for women who are over 35 and women who smoke.
  • Can be used by women who are breastfeeding.
  • Does not interrupt sex.

Things to consider

When deciding if the pill is right for you, here are a few quick facts you should consider:

  • Has to be taken every day.
  • Not suitable for women with high blood pressure.
  • Not suitable for women over 35 who smoke.
  • May not be suitable for women who have migraines.
  • Missing pills, taking some other medications, vomiting, or severe diarrhoea can make it less effective.
  • Side effects include mood swings, breast tenderness and headaches.
  • There is a small risk of blood clots.
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.

What to do if you miss a pill

If you forget to take a progestogen-only pill, what you should do depends on: 

  • How long ago you missed the pill and how many pills you have forgotten to take
  • Whether you have had sex without using another form of contraception in the previous seven days.

If you have missed a pill, take the missed pill as soon as possible. Taking the pill more than 3 hours late may affect your contraceptive cover. You should talk to us or your doctor if you’re ever unsure about anything.

If you miss a pill and are not sure what to do, we recommend seeking advice as soon as possible.