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Overview of Emergency Contraceptive Pills in India

Overview of Emergency Contraceptive Pills in India

Emergency contraception refers to alternative methods for contraceptive emergencies (to prevent pregnancy) which a woman can use within the first few days (within the first 72 hours) after unprotected intercourse to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

Emergency Contraception can be used after sexual act without contraceptive protection,  incorrect or inconsistent use of regular contraceptive methods, failure to take oral contraceptives for more than 3 days,  or in case of slippage/leakage/breakage of condom or in the event of forced unprotected sexual act. The closer a woman is to ovulation at the time of unprotected intercourse, higher is the pregnancy risk and lower is the efficacy of the ECPs.

Myths around Emergency Contraceptive Pills

Most people think that emergency contraceptive pills can also protect sexually transmitted diseases during an unprotected sex. This is 100% incorrect and a myth. Emergency Contraceptives are not meant for STD protection or ongoing pregnancy protection.

8 Benefits of Emergency Contraceptive Pills

  • EC is safe and effective method
  • Easy to use and available as OTC everywhere near you
  • Can be taken at any time during the menstrual cycle during the first 72 hours of the intercourse
  • Any physical examination is not required before taking this
  • It is available without a prescription from registered medical practitioner or Gynecologist
  • It can be used as many times as needed; although it is not a substitute for regular contraceptives
  • Does not increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy
  • Its use not associated with fetal malformations/congenital defects

How to take Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP)

The emergency contraceptive pills must be taken within 72 hours of an unprotected act of intercourse, the earlier the better. The calculation of 72 hours or 3 days should start from the first unprotected penetrative vaginal intercourse during that particular menstrual cycle. Emergency Contraception Pills taken within 72 hours of unprotected vaginal intercourse are 99% more effective. The earlier you take the better are the chances of 100% effectiveness. Side effects are similar to what women face in the first weeks of starting oral contraceptive pills. However, these side effects generally do not last more than one to two days for most women. It is seen that about less than 20% women may experience nausea and less than 10% may have vomiting tendency after using ECPs. If vomiting occurs within two hours of taking the dose of ECPs, repeat the full dose if you are sure that you have vomitted the pill out.

3 Things to consider After taking emergency Contraceptive Pills

  • If menstruation is delayed beyond one week from the scheduled date, pregnancy tests should be conducted to negate the possibility of pregnancy.
  • In about 10-15% of women, emergency contraceptive pills change the amount, duration, and timing of the next menstrual cycle. These effects are usually minor and do not need any gynecological treatment.
  • Side effects such as breast tenderness, headache, dizziness, and fatigue are common and do not generally last more than 24-48 hours. Consult your gynecologist if the problem persists longer and before consuming any medicines.

Consult Queens Gynecology for a consultation regarding methods of emergency contraceptive methods and how to manage regular contraceptive methods. Our expert guidance will help you in knowing the risks and stay protected from unwanted pregnancy for couples.

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