THE contraceptive pill can safely be taken every single day of the year, new NHS guidance states.

The news comes after scientists dismissed the decades old seven-day breaks originally brought in to appease the Catholic Church.

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) says there is no health benefit to a break in taking the combined contraceptive pill.

In fact, its experts say taking the pill day-in, day-out will actually prevent more unwanted pregnancies occurring.

The FSRH is the body which sets the key national guidelines for the safe prescription of contraceptives.

“The gynaecologist John Rock devised (the break) because he hoped that the Pope would accept the pill and make it acceptable for Catholics to use,” Professor John Guillebaud told The Telegraph.

“Rock thought if it did imitate the natural cycle then the Pope would accept it.

“When his campaign to get the pill accepted by the Pope failed, he just simply stopped being a Catholic, having been a committed one for his entire life.”

Rock was an American obstetrician and gynaecologist best known for the major role he played in the development of the first birth control pill.

Most combined contraceptive pills instruct users to take one pill each day for 21 days.Users are then told to stop taking the pill for seven days before starting a new blister pack.This decades old method is sometimes referred to as '21/7'.During the pill-free break many women experience a period-like bleed, known as a hormone withdrawal bleed.
Prof Guillebaud dismissed the standard way the combined hormone contraceptive pill has been taken over the past 60 years in a paper published last year.

Women requesting combined hormonal contraception can now be given more information about its effectiveness with a new leaflet issued by the Family Planning Association.

Prescriptions for a full year of the birth control will also be more widely available if the guidelines are followed.

Dr Diana Mansour, Vice President for Clinical Quality of the FSRH, said: "The guideline suggests that by taking fewer hormone-free intervals - or shortening them to four days – it is possible that women could reduce the risk of getting pregnant on combined hormonal contraception."
Prof Guillebaud added: “How could it be that for 60 years, we have been taking the pill in a sub-optimal way because of this desire to please the Pope?”