The Morning After Pill is a form of emergency contraceptive. If unprotected intercourse has occurred within the past 72 hours, this is a safe and effective way of preventing conception. There has been a lot of controversy surrounding this pill since it was introduced into the market years ago. The problem seems to be in the erroneous thought that this medication leads to spontaneous abortion in women who are already pregnant. That is not the case. The Morning After Pill actually blocks conception from ever occurring in the first place, this is much different than causing fetal death. However, there are still many people from certain religious groups who consider the use of this pill taboo.
How Does the Morning After Pill Work?
This form of emergency contraception uses the same hormone which are found in birth control pills, progestin. The only difference is that this particular pill uses a much higher dose than the standard birth control pill and for this reason is not considered something which should be taken regularly. The hormone progestin works by preventing the ovaries from releasing an egg, otherwise known as ovulating. If there is no egg present for the sperm to fertilize then of course pregnancy cannot occur. In addition, the hormone used in this pill will also stop a woman’s uterine lining from thickening which may prevent a fetus from being able to attach to the uterus wall, should an egg actually be released.
There is also evidence to support that the Morning After Pill causes the cervical mucus to thicken, thereby preventing sperm from passing through and fusing with the egg.
Reasons to Take the Morning After Pill
There are a number of reasons that a woman may opt to use emergency contraception. Things like other methods of birth control failing, such as a condom breaking, is one of the most common reasons for using this pill. However, there are also circumstances which can take place causing a person to have a momentary lapse of judgment, possibly induced by the heat of the moment, resulting in unprotected intercourse. This is also a very common reason that women choose to use this form of emergency contraception. Unfortunately, there are also situations such as forced unprotected sex as a result of rape. In this situation a woman can become pregnant with her assailants child, leading to major emotional repercussions for both mother can child later in life. In this case most doctors do suggest using the Morning After Pill within 72 hours of the incident.
Poor Excuses for Using the Morning After Pill
While this pill has been created for use in emergency contraception, it was never intended to be a crutch or a justification for women to practice unsafe sex as much as they would like. This pill cannot be used as a regular contraceptive and should only be used in cases of emergency. This means that it is not considered a safe form of ongoing contraceptive and should never be used in place of other means of birth control. In addition, this pill does not prevent the spread of dangerous sexually transmitted diseases and therefore it is recommended that all couples utilize some form of protection which has been deemed appropriate in the effort to prevent the spread of STDs.
When to Take the Morning After Pill
The ideal time to take the Morning After Pill is within the first 24 hours of unprotected sex. This is when the pill will be most effective. If for some reason the pill is not available during that time frame or there are other circumstances which prevent you from taking it that soon, you can safely use the medication for up to 72 hours, or three days after the unprotected sexual intercourse has taken place. This pill can be obtained through your regular doctor or even over the counter at your local pharmacy, provided you are 18 years of age or older. The 72 hour window is very helpful in giving a woman an ample amount of time to decide whether or not she wants to use the Morning After Pill. There are even some studies which show the pill to be effective for as long as five days but many feel that this is seriously pushing the envelope.
How the Morning After Pill Is Taken
Typically, there are two pills and a pregnancy test found in the kit. Most doctors suggest running the pregnancy test prior to use to be safe. One pill is taken initially and then after a period of 12 hours passes a second pill is taken. The best way to obtain the medication is through a doctor so that he/she may also prescribe something for nausea and vomiting. This side effect is commonly associated with this pill and in some cases can be quite severe. For this reason taking something to prevent vomiting before taking the Morning After Pill can reduce the possibility of expelling the initial dose through vomiting. While this pill has been regarded as being about 85% effective in most cases, there are occurrences which result in a woman becoming pregnant even after taking this pill. Because of this it is suggested you see a doctor if your period does not return within a month after taking the emergency contraceptive.
The need for safe sex has increased over the past few decades as a result of the emergence of the deadly HIV virus. For this reason it is important to reiterate the importance of making wise choices when it comes to having unprotected sex. However, this particular pill has freed a lot of women from unwanted pregnancies which can result in being faced with much harder decisions in the future. While it is nice to have the ability to react after a mistake has been made, this pill should not be used frivolously and there is still no substitution for good old fashion planning and proper decision making.