Emergency Contraceptive Pill is also known as postcoital pill or morning after pill. However, morning after pill is a misleading term because it can be used immediately after having sex or within 72 hours of having sex. The sooner you take the pill, the more effective it is.
The major advantage of the ECP is to prevent unwanted pregnancies and therefore prevent termination of pregnancy under unhygienic and unsafe conditions. Anxiety, anger, self pity, uneasiness, fear, loneliness etc. are some of the effects after an unwanted pregnancy. An unplanned pregnancy can result in a traumatic abortion. Prevention is better than abortion. ECP helps to prevent a possible pregnancy and a traumatic abortion.
The chances of pregnancy are around 20 – 30% with a single exposure of intercourse around the mid cycle and it is 10% at other times of menstrual cycle. If you do not wish to get pregnant it is important that you should use some form of contraception.
Earlier, the Emergency Contraceptive Pill was relatively scarce because it was available only by prescription. But now a day, it can be bought from almost all the counter without prescription. With this change number of emergency pills is available for us.
Various types of Emergency Contraceptive Pills have evolved over the last 15 – 20 years like four pills, two pills taken 12 hours apart within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse. However with the recent introduction of ‘i – pill’ emergency contraception has become more popular because only one pill needs to be taken.
If it is used correctly the ECP is 98% effective which means that if 100% women take ECP only 2 will get pregnant. Studies have proven that there is no risk of birth defects if you get pregnant in spite of taking ECP.
The use of ECP is only for 1 – 2 acts of unprotected sex and that too within 72 hours. You should be looking for altrnative and regular form of contraception if you happen to have sex after 72 hours.
Normally, there is no need of routine medical checkup before taking the ECP. However, if you suffer from high blood pressure, diabetes or previous tubal pregnancy, you should discuss it with a doctor when going for a health check. After taking ECP, if you experience the symptoms like severe headache, abdominal or chest pain, shortness of breath, severe leg or arm pain, you should contact a doctor as soon as possible.
There are some side effects from using ECP. Nausea and vomiting are the two most common side effect of ECP. Other side effect of ECP include headache, heavy bleeding, fatigue, cramp, dizziness and breast tenderness. But there are no serious or long term side effects for ECP. The pills should be taken with an anti-emetic tablet, if you have a tendency of nausea.
ECP can stop an egg being released from the ovary. Suppose an egg has been released, i-pill can prevent the sperm from fertilizing it. It may also prevent the already fertilized egg from attaching itself to the lining of the womb.
Most of the ladies on ECP get their next period little earlier or later than expected, however most of them get their period within a week of expected date. But if your period doesn’t come within 4 weeks of taking ECP or if you think you could be pregnant, go for a pregnancy test immediately.
While you take ECP, don’t forget to use condoms for lowering the risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Because of lack of knowledge and lack of sex education many people stop to use condoms. It may lead to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases like AIDS, herpes etc.