Today, with modern medical advancements, women can successfully evade unwanted pregnancy, even after an unprotected sexual intercourse has taken place. Basically, there are special medications made for these purposes, called emergency contraceptive pills, which can be taken within 72 hours after the unprotected intercourse. Most of these pills contain either estrogen or progesterone, or progesterone alone, preventing ovulation and, thus, stopping pregnancy as well.
Fact to Know before Taking the Pill
First of all, the sooner you take the pill, the better. Basically, these pills are most effective during the first 24 hours after the unprotected sex.
However, most of these pills, like Plan B, for example, come in pairs of two pills, which you should take either together or twelve hours apart. Note that any form of emergency contraception cannot match regular birth control pills, when it comes to efficiency and prevention of pregnancy. Also, keep in mind that these pills cannot protect you from any form of sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS, gonorrhea, chlamydia etc.
Taking the Pill before the Intercourse
The emergency contraceptive pills are equally effective when taken immediately before the sexual intercourse. Thus, the name “ the morning after pill” is not quite appropriate for these medications.
However, before you take any of these pills, you are advised to consult your doctor. Additionally, some types of emergency contraceptive pills are issued only with prescription. On the other hand, some can be purchased over-the-counter, for persons older than 17.
Speaking of the effectiveness of these pills, they can successfully prevent pregnancy in about 89% of cases. Yet, in order for them to be fully effective, you must take the pills properly and on time, following all the instructions carefully.
Again, regular birth control pills are a better choice since this variant offers adequate protection without any unwanted side-effects. As for adverse effects, emergency contraceptive pills can cause many, including nausea, stomach pain, dizziness, diarrhea, headache, vomiting, breast tenderness and shifts of the menstrual cycle, among other symptoms. Fortunately, most of the side-effects are temporary and harmless, disappearing within 24 hours.
Finally, there are no definite means of finding out whether emergency contraceptive pills have prevented your pregnancy or not. Rather, you can keep track of your menstrual period and seek medical advice if your period is late for more than a week. In this case, there are great chances that you might be pregnant after all. Do not use Plan B or other emergency contraceptive pills if you are already pregnant or if you experience vaginal bleeding or any signs of allergic reactions to these types of medications.