1. What Are Emergency Contraceptive Pills?
Emergency Contraceptive pills are pill packs that contain a progestin alone or a progestin and an estrogen together. They are useful to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. Commonly available brands in India are iPill and Unwanted 72 etc.
2. How to take the EC pills?
Emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) are sometimes called “morning after” pills. The morning-after pill is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. It can be started up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected intercourse. But it is most effective if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. Emergency contraception is not recommended as a regular birth control method. It must be used for emergency situations only.
3. Who can use EC pills?
- Any unprotected sex
- Sex was forced (rape) or coerced.
- Contraceptive mistakes such as:
- Condom was used incorrectly, slipped or broke
- Couple incorrectly used a natural, fertility awareness method
- Failed withdrawal method
- Woman has missed 3 or more combined oral contraceptive pills or has started a new pack late by 3 or more days
- IUD has slipped out of place
- Woman is more than 4 weeks late for her repeat injection of DMPA, more than 2 weeks late for her repeat injection of NET-EN, or more than 7 days late for her repeat monthly injection.
4. How do EC pills work?
The hormones may work in a number of ways to prevent pregnancy such as.
- Delay of ovulation (the release of an egg during a girl’s monthly cycle)
- Affect the development of the uterine lining and disrupt the actual fertilization process.
5. Can the EC pills help if the woman has already conceived?
If implantation has already occurred and the woman is pregnant, levonorgestrel will not interrupt the pregnancy
6. What are the possible side effects of EC pills ?
Many girls who take emergency contraception pills experience side effects such as:
- Breast tenderness
- Abdominal pain
- Irregular periods (If her next monthly bleeding is more than one week later than expected after taking ECPs, assess for pregnancy)
Such side effects are usually minor and most improve within 1 to 2 days.
7. Are there any risks to the baby if EC pills are taken unknowingly if the woman has already conceived?
There are no known risks to a foetus conceived if EC Pills are taken unknowingly or fail to prevent pregnancy
8. Should women use ECPs as a regular method of contraception?
No. They must be used only in emergency situations. Nearly all other contraceptive methods are more effective than EC pills in preventing pregnancy.
For regular contraception, you must adopt one of the other methods of contraception.
9. Is it safe to use EC pills?
It is safe to use EC pills for emergency situations to prevent unwanted pregnancies.