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    How can I delay my period?

    On this page
    1. Norethisterone to delay period
    2. How to delay period when on the pill
    3. Can you take period delay tablets on the mini pill?
    4. Can the morning after pill delay your period?
    5. How to delay your period naturally
    6. Can stress delay your period?
    7. Delaying your period often
    8. Can I get pregnant if I delay my period?
    9. Conclusion

    There are times when it can be inconvenient to have your period, for example during a holiday, an exam or a special occasion such as a wedding. There are two main ways to delay your period during such times, depending on whether or not you are already taking the contraceptive pill. 

    In this article we’ll explore how you can delay your period with medication or the contraceptive pill.

    Norethisterone to delay period

    To delay your period, you can use a medicine called Norethisterone. It can delay your period for up to 17 days.

    It comes in the form of tablets which you must:

    1. Start to take three days before your period is due. 
    2. Then take three tablets a day during the time you wish to delay your period (you can take the tablets for a maximum of 20 days, which will delay your period by a maximum of 17 days). 

    You should get your period two or three days after you stop taking Norethisterone.

    Norethisterone is a prescription-only medicine. Your GP can prescribe it for you, or you can order it through our online service. Our service saves you the hassle of booking an appointment and going to the clinic. 

    Will Norethisterone stop me getting pregnant? 

    Norethisterone is not a contraceptive. It cannot be used to prevent pregnancy. 

    How does Norethisterone work?

    Norethisterone contains the hormone progesterone. By artificially keeping your natural progesterone levels up, it stops the lining of your womb from shedding and delays your period. 

    How effective is Norethisterone?

    Most women find that Norethisterone prevents their period from starting until they choose to stop taking the tablets. However, you might find that you have spotting or breakthrough bleeding while taking Norethisterone. 

    If you start taking Norethisterone less than three days before your period is due your chance of spotting increases. 

    Can I take Norethisterone?

    Yes, most women can take Norethisterone. However, Norethisterone is not suitable for everyone, and your doctor will advise whether or not you can take it. If you want to order Norethisterone via our convenient online service, you must complete a questionnaire. This will allow our clinicians to make sure it’s safe for you.

    Generally, you should not take Norethisterone if you:

    • have a liver problem
    • have a personal or a significant family history of thrombosis (blood clots)
    • have or have had angina or a heart attack 

    What happens if you take Norethisterone too late?

    If you take Norethisterone too late it may not stop your period from starting. If your period has already begun, when you take Norethisterone, it will not stop it.

    Norethisterone is most effective when taken 3 days before the start of your period. Make sure to follow the instructions included in the patient information leaflet.

    How to delay period when on the pill

    If you're taking the combined contraceptive pill, you should be able to take 2 packets back-to-back to delay your period (skipping the 7-day break during which you normally get your period). For more information, see the contraceptive pill and period delay.

    Combined contraceptives

    You can delay your period in this way if you take most brands of the combined contraceptive pill, including Microgynon, Rigevidon, Cilest and Yasmin

    Some types of combined contraceptive pill contain a different mix of hormones in each pill (these are known as phasic pills). If you are taking a phasic pill brand you should consult with your doctor before attempting to delay your period.

    How does taking back-to-back packets delay my period?

    You normally get your period when the lining of your womb sheds. The hormones in the combined contraceptive pill help to sustain the womb lining. So, taking back-to-back packets stops your body from shedding the womb lining and so too your period.

    Is it safe to take packets back-to-back?

    Yes, it’s safe to take contraceptive pill packets back-to-back.

    Can I take more than two packets back-to-back?

    Yes, you can take up to three packets of the combined contraceptive pill back-to-back to delay your period for longer. However, this will cause the lining of your womb to build up extensively, and your chances of spotting or breakthrough bleeding increase. You will also be more likely to feel bloated. Find out more about taking too much birth control in our blog

    Can you take period delay tablets on the mini pill?

    If you take Cerazette, Desogestrel, or another brand of the mini pill (progestogen-only pill), you will be taking a pill every day. There is no way to delay your period by skipping the 7-day break.  

    You might be able to swap to the combined pill or take Norethisterone to delay your periods.  

    Can the morning after pill delay your period?

    Taking the morning after pill can affect your period. You might find it’s late or comes early. If after taking emergency contraception, your period is more than 7 days late you should take a pregnancy test. 

    How to delay your period naturally

    There isn’t a lot of scientific research around natural ways to delay your period. Many websites and people claim that apple cider vinegar or lemon juice can delay your period. However, there’s no evidence to support these claims. These methods may even cause unwanted side effects.

    Exercise can affect your periods. Excessive exercise can make them late or stop them completely. Speak to your GP if your periods have stopped. 

    Can stress delay your period?

    Stress affects the body in a lot of different ways. It can also affect periods. When we’re stressed our bodies manage our hormones differently. Your body may delay your period or even make you miss a period. Your periods could also be heavier or lighter. 

    If you’re stressed for a short time your periods should return to normal. If your stress carries on for longer and your period doesn’t return speak to your doctor.

    Delaying your period often

    It is not recommended to take Norethisterone regularly. If you often want to delay your period, your options include taking the combined contraceptive pill back-to-back or an intrauterine system (IUS) like the coil

    An IUS can work for up to 5 years and most women get lighter, less painful and often stop. After 12 months most users only have a light bleed for one day per month and about 1 in 5 users have no bleeding at all. 

    For more information on long-term contraception, visit our contraception service

    Can I get pregnant if I delay my period?

    Whether you can get pregnant while delaying your periods depends on the medication you’re using. If you’re taking the combined pill back-to-back, you will be protected from pregnancy. Unless you forget to take it or are sick within 2 hours of taking your pill. 

    Delaying your period won’t stop you from getting pregnant if you’re using Norethisterone. Norethisterone isn’t a form of contraception. You should continue to use contraception like condoms while taking Norethisterone. Find out more in our period delay and pregnancy guide


    There are a few things in life we can control, but when your period starts is now one of them. If you need to delay your period for a holiday or special event there’s a few ways you can. You can take period delay medication or change the way you take your contraceptive pill. Using a service like LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor can make getting the treatments you need quick and easy too.


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