Emergency Contraception

Perhaps you just realized that you forgot to take your birth control pill, perhaps the condom broke, or perhaps, it just hit you that you did not use any birth control in the heat of the moment. Now, what to do? Enter, emergency control protocols!

What is emergency contraception?

This form of birth control is taken in the aftermath of unprotected sex, no matter what the cause. This technique can be employed up to five days after the intercourse, however, it works better when used immediately after sex. 

Also known as morning after pill, emergency contraceptive pill helps in preventing unplanned pregnancy. It hampers the process of fertilization; however, it does not harm or prevent pregnancy if the fertilization has already occurred. It, therefore, should not be confused with an abortion pill. 

Emergency contraception is, as the name suggests, is used for emergency situations only, and not as regular birth control. If you do not want to have a baby, it is better that you sort your contraception with the aid of your Gynecologist in Advanced Medical Center.

When should you use emergency contraceptives?

You can resort to emergency contraceptives when you forgot to take any birth control pill, or if the condom broke or came off. If you have missed a couple of birth control pills in a row, you might need it.

Moreover, if your contraceptive technique is ‘pulling out’, emergency contraception is then used if your partner was not able to pull out in time. For couples using diaphragm as contraceptive, its slipping out of place also poses a risk of possible pregnancy, that can be averted by emergency contraceptives. 

What types of emergency contraceptives are available?

 

Levonorgestrel 

Levonorgestrel is a synthetic hormone that mimics the natural hormone, progesterone, which is produced by the ovaries. It works by stopping or delaying the release of the eggs. When there is no ovulation, there is no egg for the sperm to fertilize. 

It must be taken within 3 days, or 72 hours into the unprotected sex, however, the sooner it is taken, the more effective it is. Generally, only one pill of the drug has to be taken to prevent pregnancy. 

However, the effectiveness of the pill is contingent upon your cycle; naturally, if you have already ovulated, there is not much that the pill can do. 

Levonorgestrel helps in reducing the risk of pregnancy by 87%, however, it is only effective if you have unprotected sex before taking it, not after. It is not suggested that you take the pill if you think you might be pregnant already. You should also not be taking it if you are allergic to the ingredients of the pill. 

Moreover, women who are having a case of vaginal bleeding that is yet to be checked out by the doctor, should also not take  Levonorgestrel then. 

Ulipristal acetate 

Available under the name of Ella or ellaOne, these pills contain Ulipristal acetate that prevents the normal functioning of the progesterone, which then prevents the release of an egg. 

This pill can be taken up to 5 days after the episode of unprotected sex. Much like Levonorgestrel, ella does not work if you are already pregnant. 

What are the side effects of the emergency pill?

Even though these pills may help you in the moment, however, they also come with a plethora of problems. While there are no long-term side effects of emergency contraception pills, however, they can cause problems in the short term including headaches and stomachaches.

These pills can also disrupt your entire menstrual cycle. Periods might come sooner than expected and can also cause a lot of pain as well. Other side effects include nausea, pain in the abdominal region, dizziness, tenderness in the breast, and fatigue. 

Therefore, do not use these pills unless absolutely necessary. Instead, consult your Gynecologist in Reliance Hospital for a better plan contraceptive plan.