Are Morning-After Pills A Reliable Method Of Contraception? | POPxo

Why You Need To Think Twice Before Popping An Emergency Contraceptive Pill

Why You Need To Think Twice Before Popping An Emergency Contraceptive Pill

We've all been there - a moment of passion where we've thrown caution to the wind and succumbed to our carnal desires. While the moment may have been extremely pleasurable, it is the regret and pregnancy scare that comes after that gets you down. When you’re in a position where you don’t want an unplanned pregnancy, you end up taking extreme measure to prevent it. This is why you are tempted to pop an emergency contraceptive pill. But, trust us when we say emergency contraceptive pills aren't the best idea on a regular basis. So before you take one, here is everything you need to know about a morning-after pill.


What Is A Morning-After Pill?


A morning-after pill or emergency contraceptive pill is a medicine you take after unprotected sex to prevent unplanned pregnancies. It can be taken up to 72-120 hours of having sex, depending on the brand. It is more effective the sooner you take it, preferably within the first 72 hours.


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Let us explain how it works. You do not get pregnant as soon as you have sex. The sperm lives inside your body, sometimes up to 5 days, waiting for the release of the egg to fertilize it. Morning-after pills prevent pregnancy by stopping the ovary from releasing the egg for some time, which does not allow the sperm the access it needs to fertilize the egg. And if the egg isn't fertilized, you don't get pregnant. It's as simple as that.


Side Effects Of A Morning-After Pill?


Emergency contraceptive pills may be an effective option but it definitely isn't recommended for routine use. Also, it has been known to fail even with correct use and more importantly, it doesn't provide protection against sexually transmitted infections.


You shouldn't consume an ECP if:


  1. You're allergic to one of its components.

  2. You're consuming medicines that could reduce its effectiveness.

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These are some of the known side-effects of a morning-after pill. But they may not show up in the same way in every woman. 


  1. Nausea or vomiting

  2. Dizziness

  3. Fatigue

  4. Headache

  5. Breast tenderness

  6. Bleeding between periods or heavier menstrual bleeding

  7. Lower abdominal pain or cramps

  8. Delayed period


How Are These Pills Different From Birth Control Pills?


There is a world of difference between birth control pills, which you're supposed to take everyday and emergency contraceptive pills which are supposed to be taken, as the name suggests in an emergency and as soon as possible. 


Birth control pills work by avoiding ovulation so that when there is no egg, there is no way that pregnancy can occur, making it the most reliable way of long-term birth control. On the other hand, ECPs inhibit ovulation as soon as possible and even if the ovum is mature, it does not allow it to release and prevents fertilization. However, it is important to remember that these pills are not abortion pills and they do not work if the fertilization has already occurred. 


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Birth control pills need to be taken daily for 21 or 28 days, depending on the brand. However, morning-after pills need to be taken only once, before 120 hours are up after unprotected sex. It is, however, important to remember that these pills are most effective within the first 24 hours and as each day passes, their effectiveness decreases.


In The End...


... the conclusion we can draw is that while morning-after pills may be an effective method of birth control, you shouldn't make a habit out of it. With its inability to prevent you from contracting STIs, it becomes a birth control method that may not be the best suited for you if you have sex on a regular basis. In that case, a condom is more suited for you. Also, it is inadvisable to consume more than one ECP per menstrual cycle so you may be in a little bit of trouble if you do. Plus, with ECPs being a hormonal medicine, the long-term effects of it on the body can be harmful. Plus, using it multiple times in a month can lead to irregular periods and throw your menstrual cycle off track. So, be careful!  


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