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Everything You Need To Know About The ‘Morning-After Pill’

Everything You Need To Know About The 'Morning-After Pill'

Choosing what to do about an unwanted pregnancy can be a very hard decision to make. Thankfully, with the introduction of emergency contraceptives, numerous unwanted pregnancies have been successfully nipped in the bud.

Emergency contraceptives, also called “morning-after pills”, and are relatively new to the medical world, and many of you may be unaware of their usage, advantages, and side-effects. Here are some important questions that may cross your mind when planning to take an emergency pill:

1. When To Take An Emergency Contraceptive? An emergency pill has to be taken orally, within 24-72 hours of unprotected sex. Some pills are advised within 24-48 hours of intercourse, while others can work up to 72 hours.

2. What Is Its Composition? Most emergency birth control pills are composed of a progesterone-estrogen combination called ‘Levonorgestrel’.

3. How Effective Is Emergency Contraception? A majority of the emergency pills have a success rate of 95% if taken within 24 hours. The rate of success decreases with the passage of time after unprotected intercourse. Even though these pills can work up to 72 hours, they should be taken as soon as possible to avoid any risk of pregnancy.

4. How Does Emergency Birth Control Work? Depending on your reproductive cycle, the emergency pill works by delaying ovulation (the release of egg from ovaries) and disrupting the fertilization of the egg with the sperm. It may also prohibit the implantation (attachment) in the uterus, even after fertilization has occurred.

5. Does It Protect Against Sexually Transmitted Diseases? Emergency pills do not protect against the risk of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. Condoms should always be used to prevent these diseases.

6. How Safe Are These Pills? Emergency birth control is a rapid and action-driven process. The dosage is usually strong, and regular usage is strictly not advised. Some pills are absorbed into the system and remain active up to 7 days, while others are never absorbed. The pills are safe if taken in a cautious and responsible manner. However, there may be some side effects such as nausea, fatigue, headache and stomach cramps due to hormonal imbalance. Periods may start early or even get delayed.

Remember! Emergency contraceptives should not be used as a primary method of contraception. Instead, regular birth control methods like condoms, intra-uterine devices (IUDs) etc. should be considered. Also, these pills do not work if pregnancy has already occurred.

Although emergency pills are effective in a majority of cases, professional consultation along with proper precautions is always advisable. Ensuring proper intake of water and a healthy diet is highly recommended for combating the side effects of emergency contraception.

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