Morning-after pill is a kind of emergency contraceptive pill that is used to avert pregnancy for women who’ve had unprotected sex or whose birth control method has failed. Often referred to as the miracle pill, they empower thousands of women to negate the chances of an unwanted pregnancy.
By popping a morning-after pill preferably within 24 hours of indulging in unprotected sex caused either due to not using birth control, missing a birth control pill, failure of birth control method or sexual assault, they help prevent pregnancy. Morning after pills work primarily by delaying or preventing ovulation, and are sold under many brand names: i-Pill, Unwanted 72 and Preventol. They primarily contain higher doses of the hormones- estrogen, progestin, or both that are found in regular oral contraceptive pills.
Morning after pill is a potent way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, but it isn’t as effective as other methods of contraception and is not recommended for routine use. Also, at times, they can fail even with correct use, and offer no protection against sexually transmitted infections like HIV. Avoid taking a morning-after pill in case you are obese or are allergic to any component of the morning-after pill or are taking certain other medications that can lower the effectiveness of the pill.
When should I use it?
The morning after pill was developed for the use in emergencies, for example if you have skipped taking contraceptive pill, have a broken condom or slipped diaphragm or have deferred in starting with the prescribed pack of birth control pills. The morning after pill contains a much higher dose of hormones than the normal contraceptive pill, which means that you should not use it regularly.
It is also worth noting that the morning after pill is far more priced than other contraceptives and using it excessively will cost you more money than taking the pill or buying condoms. You should avoid using it several times in the same month, as this can cause changes in your period and upset your menstrual cycle.
While emergency contraceptive pills may work for some, health care providers and gynecologists advise caution. If a woman is in a committed relationship, she should practice some better method of protection, not only from pregnancy but from sexually transmitted diseases. The lack of protection that emergency contraceptive pills offer against sexually transmitted infections is one of the main reasons why medical practitioners are wary about their increasing, somewhat indiscriminate, use. While morning-after pill may be an easy and safe way of handling unplanned intercourse, women need to be watchful and prepared about the possible after-effects of sex. Moreover, prolonged use of these pills could affect a woman’s fertility. While no deaths have been linked to using these pills and medical experts agree there are no situations where the risks outweigh the benefits of being able to prevent pregnancy after sex, there can be certain minor side effects like nausea, headaches, fatigue, lower abdominal pain, breast pain and increased bleeding during periods. Other major side effects of the morning-after pill, which typically last only a few days, might include:
Using the morning-after pill may delay your period by up to a week. If you don’t get your period within 3-4 weeks of taking the morning-after pill, take a pregnancy test. Also, if you face bleeding or spotting that lasts longer than a week or develop severe lower abdominal pain 3-5 weeks after taking the morning-after pill, consult your doctor. These can indicate a miscarriage or incidence of ectopic pregnancy.