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'Feminor sequential' oral contraceptive pills, United Kingdom, 1960-1980

‘Feminor sequential’ is a trade name for an early oral contraceptive pill (shown at the top of this image). Special packaging was designed soon after the pill was launched to remind women when to take it. This example has a chart for women to mark off the days. Extra protection was needed to prevent pregnancy for the first ten days of the first course of tablets. Monophasic pills such as Feminor sequential are taken for 21 days, at the same time each day, with a week off. The pill suppresses ovulation, which is the release of eggs into the womb. They also make it difficult for sperm to reach an egg, or for an egg to implant itself in the lining of the womb. Each pill contains the same amount of oestrogen. The pills are shown with other oral contraceptives.

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Glossary: contraception

The use of methods and techniques to prevent pregnancy from sex.

Glossary: oral contraceptive pill

A drug containing hormones, taken to stop pregnancy.

Glossary: tablet

Also known as a pill, it is made by compressing a powdered form of one or more drugs. It is usually taken by mouth, but may be inserted into a different body cavity.

Glossary: period

Common term for vaginal bleeding, which happens once a month as part of a female's menstrual cycle. Periods usually last from one to five days and begin when a girl reaches puberty.

Glossary: oestrogen

A female hormone. Oestrogen is first produced by a girl at puberty. It regulates the menstrual cycle and prepares the uterus for pregnancy. Oestrogen is present in males, but in very low levels.

Glossary: materia medica

A Latin medical term sometimes used to refer to medical substances.