Emergency contraceptive pills, also known as “the morning after pills” or “the day after pills” are medications which are used for preventing pregnancy after an unprotected sexual intercourse. The reasons for taking these pills are many, from a perforated condom to involuntary sex. Nevertheless, emergency contraceptive pills, when taken up to five days after the intercourse, preferably within the first 24 hours, successfully prevent pregnancy in a vast majority of cases.
Facts about Emergency Contraceptive Pills
Even though these pills are very effective for stopping pregnancy, they should not be taken often, as a regular contraceptive measure. Also, these pills cannot keep you safe from sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV. Therefore, for staying completely safe from pregnancy and STDs, you are advised to use a combination of many different contraceptive methods.
As for emergency contraception, if you opt for this choice, you can pick one from two different types – the pills or the copper intrauterine device.
Types of Emergency Contraceptive Pills
As far as pills are concerned, these are based on hormones which prevent ovulation from taking place. There are two types of hormones capable of doing this, progestin and estrogen. Some pills contain only progestin or estrogen, while some contain both of these hormones.
Progestin emergency contraceptive pills are available for all women older than 17, reducing risks of pregnancy for up to 88%, leading to ignorable or no side-effects.
Also, there are emergency pills of this type containing ulipristal acetate, being given only to those who have prescriptions for them. Yet, these pills are known to be very effective in preventing pregnancy when taken during the first 5 days after the unprotected sex, being more effective than most other pills of this type.
Alternatively, pills which contain a combination of estrogen and progestin are the least beneficial type, being effective in up to 75% of cases, commonly leading to side-effects like nausea and vomiting.
Nevertheless, if you are in China or Vietnam, you can take small doses of mifepristone and prevent pregnancy successfully, with no serious side-effects.
Ultimately, the copper intrauterine device is effective for about 10 years after being implanted.
Important Notes about Emergency Contraceptive Pills
Remember that these pills are best to be taken within the first 24 hours after the intercourse. Also, alcohol does not decrease the effectiveness of these pills. Therefore, drinking before or after the unprotected sexual intercourse will not make your chances of preventing pregnancy with emergency contraceptive pills smaller. However, alcohol intoxication is one of the main reasons behind unprotected sex in the first place, so drink in moderation and use protection at all times.