Health A to Z Last updated on 2021-02-26 20:51:29
Pills that Prevent Pregnancy: Emergency Contraceptive Pills
- Dr. Uma M
- 2 Min Read
- Fact Checked
Emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) are an important option for women to prevent unintended pregnancy. These pills can be used up to 120 hours after unprotected sex. By taking emergency contraceptive pills, women are not only averting abortion but also morbidity and mortality. In India, each day, 10 women die and thousands face morbidity because of unsafe abortion.
When to use emergency contraceptive pills?Women can use ECPs at a time when they need a second chance to avoid pregnancy. Even though ECPs cannot prevent pregnancy 100% of the time, they can significantly reduce the chances of getting pregnant. Emergency contraceptive pills are often called morning after pills because women can take it the next day after sexual intercourse. But the truth is that you can take the pills right away if you are not using contraception or you think that your birth control has failed. You may also have them up to 3 days after intercourse.
How do emergency contraceptive pills work?ECPs work by delaying the process of ovulation. These pills mainly prevent the release of an egg from the ovary. Though the sperm fertilizes the egg within 12–24 hours after ovulation, it can survive in the body for 5–7 days. It is in this phase of the fertility cycle before ovulation that ECPs are most effective.
Side effects of emergency contraceptive pillsThe ECPs do not have any long-term or serious side effects. In most cases, women will not experience any complications. However, they may face minor side effects, including:
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