How Effective Is Emergency Contraception During Ovulation?
Emergency contraception is also called ‘the morning after pill’. You can take it up to five days after unprotected sex. It is most effective when taken as soon as possible after sex. Many Women who don’t have a regular form of contraception take the morning after pill. EllaOne and Levonelle are two popular brands of emergency contraception.
The morning after pill prevents pregnancy by delaying ovulation. This ensures that an egg will not come into contact with sperm. If you have already ovulated emergency contraception will not prevent pregnancy. Emergency contraception is not an abortion pill and will not harm your baby if you are already pregnant.
Relying on emergency contraception should only be a short-term measure to prevent pregnancy because it is not effective all month. If you take the morning after pill regularly you need to find a regular contraception.
What Is Ovulation?
Ovulation is part of the menstrual cycle where the follicles in the ovary release an egg. The egg travels down the fallopian tube to meet a sperm. If there is no sperm present the egg will not be fertilized and you won’t become pregnant. Progesterone levels in the body decrease prompting the start of a period. An average cycle lasts for twenty-eight days but can be longer or shorter.
You are most fertile from the 10th to 18th day of your menstrual cycle. Ovulation occurs in the middle of the cycle which is approximately two weeks after the first day of your period. During this time women are at most risk of getting pregnant. Sperm lasts for five days and an egg lasts for 24 hours so there's a chance of fertilisation.
A fertilised egg implants itself into the womb lining and forms into a baby. An unfertilised egg disintegrates and is either absorbed by the body or expelled during your period.
How Does Emergency Contraception Work?
Emergency contraception prevents pregnancy by delaying ovulation. It is as safe to use as the contraceptive pill and has no long-term effects. EllaOne and Levonelle are the most effective morning-after pills. They are not abortion pills and will not damage the fetus if you are already pregnant.
EllaOne is effective up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex while Levonelle is effective up to 72 hours (3 days). They are both most effective if taken as soon as possible and will not stop you from getting pregnant if you have more unprotected sex. Childbearing women and teenagers are able to take emergency contraception at any time of the month.
Side effects include; nausea, stomach pain, painful periods, tender breasts, pelvic pain, headaches, dizziness, mood changes, muscle pain and tiredness. You may or may not experience these side effects and your period cycle might change a little. If you miss a period you should take a pregnancy test and consult your doctor.
If ovulation has taken place emergency contraception won’t stop you from getting pregnant but it might make it difficult for implantation. An IUD or coil disrupts implantation and effectively prevents pregnancy. If you are concerned about the effectiveness of emergency contraception consider having a coil fitted.
Emergency contraception is not a long-term solution so you must think about other methods to prevent pregnancy. Bear in mind that no contraception is 100% effective and they won’t protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.
By Parv Sagoo (Sept 2018)