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Study finds many women ignore pill instructions

Most women who use birth control pills don't follow all the instructions and risk an unwanted pregnancy, a University of Michigan study has found. Fewer than 11 percent of the women participating in the 26-month study said they always followed directions when taking the pill, said Deborah Oakley, interim director of nursing research.

"The thing that puts them most at risk is skipping the pill two or more days," Oakley said Monday.

Her study group consisted of 612 women at three family-planning centers in the Detroit area.

She found that about six of every 100 women in the group became pregnant, compared to a pregnancy rate of one to two women out of 100 who take the pill properly.

Oakley said 58 percent of the women reported they hadn't taken a pill every day and fewer than 17 percent took the pill at the same time each day.

The pill is used properly when one pill a day is taken within two hours of the same time each day, and every pill in the pack is used. Women also are told to use a backup method of birth control if they miss a day.

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