Emergency Birth Control
Emergency birth control, also referred to as ‘emergency postcoital contraception’, refers to the measures taken after unprotected vaginal intercourse to prevent the possibility of pregnancy. Emergency birth control may also be required in the event that the birth control method being used fails; the condom may break, the diaphragm may have slipped off or you may have forgotten to take your birth control pill. Emergency contraception may also be used in the case of rape. This will help prevent the victim from becoming pregnant.
Whatever the case may be, emergency birth control can reduce the probability of unwanted pregnancies and save you from a great deal of worry, stress and anxiety which can have negative effects on your daily life
Types of Emergency Birth Control
These pregnancy control measures include taking ‘morning-after pills’ which are similar to regular birth control pills. Another emergency birth control method is the insertion of an IUD (Intra uterine device) within 5 days after sexual intercourse. Let’s examine each method in more detail!
Emergency Contraception Pills
The ‘morning after pill’ should be taken as soon as possible. Even though the time limit for these emergency contraception pills is up to 5 days after unprotected sex, the chances of getting pregnant are greatly reduced if you take the pill sooner. These pills are similar to regular birth control pills, but contain higher levels of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone.
These hormones decrease the probability of eggs being released from the ovary (ovulation), eggs traveling through the fallopian tubes which reduce the chances of fertilization, and finally, prevent implantation into the uterine wall. Women can have morning after pills that contain levonorgestrel, a synthetic form of the female hormone progesterone. They can also use a medicine called ulipristal which has an effect on the natural progesterone levels in the body. Alternatively, you can consult your doctor to find out if your regular birth control pills have a suitable mix of progesterone and estrogen, and whether they can be used as emergency birth control pills.
Intrauterine Device (IUD)
An IUD is a T-shaped object made of copper, which when placed inside the uterus, has the ability to kill sperm. It should be inserted within 5 days of having unprotected sexual intercourse; however, some doctors do feel that 7 days is acceptable too. A trained physician must insert the IUD to prevent any complications. You may experience bleeding and cramps for the first few days after the insertion, but research reveals that IUD’s are 99% effective in preventing pregnancies.
Do keep in mind that Birth control pills can cause nausea and vomiting. If you are 17 years or older, you can obtain birth control pills from your local pharmacist without a prescription. Younger individuals will need a doctor’s prescription. You can also visit www.plannedparenthood.org to obtain greater information about which regular birth control brands can be used as emergency pregnancy control pills.
Remember that emergency contraception methods will not protect you from Sexually transmitted diseases, thus if you notice any tell tale symptoms or signs, consult your doctor immediately!
Emergency contraception: topic overview (Webmd.com)
Progestin for emergency contraception (Webmd.com)
Birth control- emergency contraception (Webmd.com)