Is Emergency Contraception Bad For You?
Emergency contraception (EC) is a life saviour for many who find themselves panicking after a one night stand or condom catastrophe. Affectionately known as the ‘Morning After Pill’, emergency contraception stops ovulation and prevents pregnancy. There is a 72 to 120-hour window to take (EC) but it is most effective the earlier you take it.
The two main brands of emergency contraception are EllaOne and Levonelle which work in the same way as the traditional contraceptive pill. Inserting an IUD or coil also acts as emergency contraception too. All of these methods prevent the sperm from fertilising the egg by making the environment too hostile for them.
Contraception means to prevent conception so is not a form abortion because it stops fertilisation. All medication carries risks and may not be suitable for everyone but the morning after pills carries no more risks than the daily contraceptive pill. Considering a regular form of contraception may be an option if you require emergency contraception frequently.
Emergency contraception is a quick way to prevent pregnancy after having sex without protection. Every month the ovaries release an egg that lasts for 24 hours in the fallopian tubes. After ejaculation sperm travels up to the fallopian tubes and survives up to five days while waiting for an egg to appear. Emergency contraception stops the ovaries from releasing an egg so fertilisation doesn’t take place.The morning after pill doesn’t work if you are already pregnant and it won’t harm your baby. It is not an abortion tablet so you don’t have to worry that you are aborting a baby.
Levonelle and Ellaone are available over the counter and online. Both medications act upon the hormone progesterone. You can take EllaOne up to five days after unprotected sex and Levonelle up to three days. Doctors recommend you take it as soon as possible to increase effectiveness. Some women buy the morning after pill in advance on the off chance they will strike it lucky.
Most women don’t suffer any major side effects after taking emergency contraception. Some may feel nauseous, have bad period pain, have mood swings and feel more tired than usual. If you miss a period after taking the morning after pill you may be pregnant so it is good to take a pregnancy test. The morning after pill is no more dangerous than the regular pill. Emergency contraception like all other methods is not 100% reliable.
If you use emergency contraception frequently is probably time to consider a regular form of birth control. Barrier methods such as the male and female condom prevent pregnancy and reduce the chances of catching STIs. The copper coil, cap and diaphragm stop pregnancy without using hormones. The pill, mini pill and Mirena coil use hormones to prevent pregnancy. Abstention is the only 100% effective way to prevent conception.
Nobody wants to be a Vestal Virgin and remain celibate for the rest of their lives so finding the best contraception for you is important. If you need extra information a visit to your doctor sexual health clinic will be beneficial.
By Parv Sagoo (Nov 2017)