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Top 10 facts about emergency contraceptive pills

Morning after pill
Women use emergency contraceptive pills (ECP) to prevent the risk of unplanned pregnancy. A little knowledge about them will help you a long way. Read our top ten facts now…

Emergency contraceptive pills are easily available across the counter. They are safe only if you use them properly. Needless to say, if you abuse morning after pills, due to whatever reasons, it will affect your body adversely. Here are some facts to consider before it’s already too late.

  1. ECPs are used to prevent pregnancy, not end one
    Morning after pills help in delaying the fertilisation of the egg or its implantation in the uterus. It is NOT a method for abortion. They can only help to stop pregnancy if taken within 72 hours and not terminate it.
     
  2. ECPs are not a regular method of birth control
    Morning after pills or ECPs should be used only in emergencies. It is always advisable to use condoms. If your condoms break during sex or you run out of your regular form of contraception, ECPs are advisable. However, don’t make it a regular method. It comes with the risk of side effects.
     
  3. ECPs should be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex
    For your ECP to work and avoid pregnancy, you need to consume it within 72 hours of unprotected sex. The name ‘morning after pill’ is a misnomer. The chances until 120 hours are still strong. However, we recommend you to take immediately after unsafe intercourse. The sooner the better.
     
  4. They do not protect you against STIs
    As stated earlier, morning after pills only help in preventing unplanned pregnancy. They don’t protect you from STIs or HIV. If you’ve had risky unprotected sex, you should be worried about contracting an STI and get yourself tested.
     
  5. ECPs are not effective on already pregnant women 
    If you’re already pregnant and decide to consume the pill to terminate it or avoid that pregnancy, you’re are misinformed. However, having an ECP during pregnancy doesn’t harm your foetus.
     
  6. ECPs can result in side-effects for some women
    Some common side effects of morning after pills are nausea, vomiting, headaches, fatigue, breast tenderness and abdominal pain and cramps. Frequent use of ECPs can also disturb and disrupt your menstrual cycle.
     
  7. ECPs are easily available
    Morning after pills or ECPs are easily available across the counter at your regular chemist shops. It can be bought without prescription.
     
  8. Morning after pills are not 100 per cent effective
    One must take a pregnancy test if you do not get your period three weeks after taking the pill to make sure there is no ongoing pregnancy. These pills are not always safe and you may get pregnant even after taking them.
     
  9. ECPs may lack efficacy in obese women
    Studies have shown that the effectiveness of these drugs is significantly reduced in overweight women and the success rate is lesser. However, this claim is still being researched and there is chance that increased dosage might work.
     
  10. ECPs can be used by lactating mothers
    If you have a new-born and you’re worried about using ECP, you should know that they do not deteriorate the quality of breast milk or have any negative impact on the infant.

Finally, use of ECPs is an emergency measure but one must consult the doctor to make sure there is no trace of any unwanted pregnancy leading to complications at a later stage.

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