Is mini pill effective?

I WAS divorced at the age of 33 and I took the combined contraceptive pill throughout my eight-year marriage.

I came off the pill shortly after this and stayed off for the next five years.

I have now met someone new and it’s fast becoming a serious relationship, so I saw my GP last week who prescribed a ‘mini’ pill.

I am worried that this pill might not be as effective as the combined pill that I used to take. - BL

Fiona says: The ‘mini’ pill (sometimes called Pops) is a progestogen-only pill, unlike the combined pill you used to take, which is a mix of oestrogen and progestogen.

Both pills are effective and are currently perhaps the most reliable methods, but they differ in the level of risk attached to long-term use.

The combined pill does carry a slightly higher risk factor, especially in older women. To find out why the mini-pill was used in your case, you’d need to see a GP again. Sexwise, a new information service from the FPA ( should help you to look at all the options.


I AM six months pregnant and my husband has been putting pressure on me to find out whether it’s a boy or a girl.

As we already have a daughter, he’s desperate for a son. The problem is, I want it to be a surprise.

I have tried to explain that knowing now won’t make any difference to the eventual sex of the baby, but he will not let it go. We’ve already had a couple of arguments about it and it’s really getting me down. - DD

Fiona says: This is difficult and there’s no easy solution here.

If there is no way to reach a compromise, one of you is going to be disappointed.

If your husband is going to be seriously disappointed in another daughter, then you should consider whether you would rather this happened now.

That way he will have time to come to terms with his disappointment, rather than deal with it when the baby is born.

If he’s just pushing out of curiosity then you can stick to your guns, but it’s your decision.