In a night of romance, odd things can happen, condoms may break and regular contraceptive pills may be missed. The morning after pill, a.k.a emergency contraceptive pill, is the life saver when there is a contraception misuse, failure or unprotected sex.
Whenever we talk about morning after pill, our voice tends to turn into whispers, as if it is a top secret of all. Morning after pill has always been surrounded with misconceptions and stigma. Some equate it as abortion, some think that it will cause infertility, some are confused on how to take it. The build-up of myths can eventually create fear and hesitation on the use of morning after pill and deter one from choosing the right birth control method for themselves.
No more whispering and guessing around, here, we debunk the 5 common myths about morning after pill to calm your nerves and put things straight. Let’s find out!
Myth 1: Morning after pill is the only type of emergency contraception
There are 2 types of emergency contraception:
Morning after pill
Morning after pill works by delaying ovulation (release of egg from ovaries). By delaying or stopping the egg from releasing, sperms will not be able to reach the eggs, hence fertilization and pregnancy will not occur. The pill does not work if the egg has already fertilised and implanted on the uterus.
Intrauterine device (IUD) - Copper IUD
Copper IUD is a small ‘T-shaped’ device that is to be inserted by trained doctors into the uterus. It works by releasing copper to block the implantation of fertilised eggs, thus preventing pregnancy. It can provide effective ongoing contraception for up to 5-10 years and is the most effective emergency contraception method with more than 99% effectiveness.
Myth 2: Morning after pill should only be taken the morning after
TRUTH: Even though people call it a morning after pill, it is not a must for you to take it in the morning only. With levonorgestrel pill, it can be taken at anytime up to 3 days after sex, while with ulipristal containing pill, it can be taken up to 5 days after sex and they will still remain effective.
Myth 3: Morning after pill protects you from pregnancy for the rest of the month
TRUTH: Morning after pill does not provide contraceptive protection for subsequent sexual intercourse that occurs in the future. Morning after pill can be used as often as needed, however, it should not be used as a regular contraceptive pill. If you are sexually active, it is important to use barrier methods like condoms, regular contraception methods such as oral contraceptive pills, or long-term contraceptive methods like IUD to help protect against pregnancy.
Myth 4: Morning after pill means getting an abortion and can affects future fertility
TRUTH: Morning after pill does not mean getting an abortion. It will not cause any abortion or miscarriage as it works mainly by delaying ovulation and preventing fertilisation of egg with sperms, which means that a zygote (fertilized egg) and fetus are yet to be formed. Morning after pill does not work if one is already pregnant, meaning that when the egg is already fertilised and attached to the uterus. On the other hand, abortion involves removing the fetus from the uterus to end pregnancy.
Moreover, morning after pill only provides temporary contraceptive effects. Current evidence does not show that it can induce or increase the risk of infertility.
Myth 5: Morning after pill is always 100% effective
TRUTH: Unfortunately, although morning after pill is highly effective to a great extent, it does not provide 100% contraception coverage. Ovulation day differs for every woman, but generally it should occur around day 14 of your menstrual cycle. If you are taking it after ovulation has occurred, the pill may be less effective and there may be chances of you getting pregnant. Besides, the efficacy of the pill may be reduced if it is used concurrently with other medications such as certain antiepileptic medications, St John’s Wort.
You should always use protection. In the case when unprotected sex occur, you may use emergency contraception, however, it should not become a habit.
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Medical News today - https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/birth-control-myths#fertility
Family Planning NSW - https://www.fpnsw.org.au/health-information/contraception/emergency-contraception
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