Emergency contraception can be found anywhere at any time at this point. It is a useful aspect of healthcare which prevents unwanted pregnancies since the pills prevent or delay ovulation. However, with a vast amount of sex education available in this era, there are a few misconceptions regarding emergency contraception pills. The most common being: can emergency pills help end an existing pregnancy?
To answer this question, you need to grasp the functioning of emergency contraception pills.
Cutting to the Chase
If you want a short answer, then no. Emergency contraception is entirely different from the abortion pill. There is not even a slight chance of an abortion or a miscarriage through the use of emergency contraception.
Emergency contraception is also referred to as Plan B as well as the morning-after pill. These pills contain levonorgestrel which is a synthetic form of the hormone progestin.
Keep in mind that emergency contraception is only effective if taken within the time of 120 hours or 5 days. It does not work if you are already pregnant.
How does Emergency Contraception work?
According to current research, emergency contraception works primarily by delaying or preventing ovulation. But in addition to this, it may prevent fertilisation, too.
As far as research suggests, emergency contraception becomes ineffective once an egg is fertilised. Simply put, the pills do not stop a fertilised egg from implanting in the uterus nor interfere with a zygote that has already been implanted.
Are Emergency Contraception pills safe?
Emergency contraception pills are as safe as birth control pills. They do not interfere with the everyday life routine. However, they do have a few side effects.
Side Effects of Emergency Contraception
Emergency contraception has a few side effects, but they can be easily managed. Symptoms include:
- Menstrual cycle irregularities
Is it normal to bleed after taking Emergency Contraception pills?
Yes. Although vaginal bleeding is not considered a very common side effect of emergency contraception, the truth is that it can happen. The leading cause of bleeding is hormones in emergency contraceptive pills. However, most of the time, the bleeding is light and tends to go away on its own.
In rare cases, the bleeding may signify something more severe. You should seek medical attention if you experience any of the following:
- Unusually heavy bleeding
- Bleeding that lasts more than a few days
- Bleeding that is accompanied by other familiar symptoms like cramps or dizziness
Efficacy of Emergency Contraception
Since the primary use of emergency contraception is pregnancy prevention, it is tough to measure the efficacy of the pills with great accuracy. However, according to research, emergency contraception is most effective when taken within 24 hours of sexual intercourse.
Can Emergency Contraception harm a growing foetus?
If you are already pregnant and take emergency contraception, your body will have no effect. Although only a few studies have been conducted on this matter, there is substantial evidence that emergency contraception will not harm a growing foetus. It does not abort the foetus, either.
Will taking Emergency Contraption affect my future fertility?
As mentioned before, emergency contraception does not affect fertility. It will not prevent you from becoming pregnant in the future. It does not increase your risk of miscarrying if you do eventually become pregnant. Keep in mind that there is no limit to the number of times you can take emergency contraception.
Who can take Emergency Contraception?
Any woman, girl or person of reproductive age may take emergency contraception to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. Remember that there are no definite medical contraindications when it comes to the use of emergency contraception. In simple terms, if you can safely take birth control pills, you can safely take emergency contraception.
When should I take Emergency Contraception?
You can use emergency contraception in a number of situations following sexual intercourse. Consider the following:
- When there was no contraception used during sexual intercourse
- Sexual assault (especially if the person did not use contraception)
If you suspect that the possibility of contraceptive failure is high, this can vary from improper or incorrect use to the following:
- Condom breakage, slippage, or improper use
- If you missed oral contraceptive for 3 or more days
- If you are 3 days late during the first week of the cycle
- If you are more than 3 hours late from the regular time of intake of the progestogen-only pill (minipill) or if it has been more than 27 hours after the previous pill
- If it has been more than 12 hours from the usual time of intake of the desogestrel-containing pill, or 36 hours, have passed since the previous pill.
- If you are more than 2 weeks late for the norethisterone enanthate (NET-EN) progestogen-only injection
- If you are more than 4 weeks late for the depot-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) progestogen-only injection
- If you are more than 7 days late for the combined injectable contraceptive (CIC)
- If dislodgment, breakage, tearing, or early removal of a diaphragm or cervical cap has occurred
- If it is a case of failed withdrawal (like ejaculation in the vagina or on external genitalia)
The Bottom Line
There is no evidence that suggests the use of an emergency contraceptive can end an existing pregnancy. It is completely safe to use and has plenty of benefits that definitely outweigh the long-term risks of a pregnancy.