Debunking 5 Common Emergency Contraception Myths

Emergency Contraception

Although a useful method of backup birth control, there are many myths surrounding the emergency contraception pill (also commonly known as the “morning after pill” or “plan b”). In this article we debunk some common myths associated with this medication and provide you with accurate information to help avoid confusion and unnecessary stress when taking it.

Myth #1 – Emergency contraception causes serious, long-term side effects.

The side effects of emergency contraception are a concern for many people. It is true that some people who take emergency contraception will experience side effects. However, side effects do not affect everyone. Furthermore, rest assured that for the majority of people, these side effects will be mild and not last long.

These mild side effects may include tiredness, headache, abdominal pain and breast pain that will usually fade within a few days. You may also experience some changes to your menstrual cycle––your next period may come earlier or later than usual.

Besides this, According to the World Health Organization (WHO), taking emergency contraception does not affect future fertility, meaning it will not prevent you from getting pregnant in the future. There are no links between taking emergency contraception and infertility, and this does not change even if you use emergency contraception more than once.

Myth #2 – You shouldn’t take emergency contraception multiple times.

There are no harmful effects associated with taking emergency contraception more than once or multiple times. You should take emergency contraception whenever necessary––for instance, if you had unprotected sex or you suspect your primary method of birth control has failed.

However, you should refrain from using emergency contraception as your main method of birth control because it is not as effective as other forms of birth control. Also note that if you use emergency contraception more than once within one menstrual cycles you may experience more side effects than normal and any subsequent pills after the first one may be less effective.

Myth #3 – Emergency contraception can only be taken the morning after unprotected sex to be effective.

Emergency contraception contains either the hormone levonorgestrel or the hormone ulipristal acetate, which prevent pregnancy by either delaying or altogether preventing ovulation and fertilization. This means that emergency contraception will be most effective if you have not ovulated yet.

This means that you do not need to take emergency contraception immediately after having unprotected sex for it to be effective. However, because you may not know the exact date of ovulation, the earlier you take emergency contraception, the more likely it is to be effective. Emergency contraception with ulipristal acetate can reduce the risk of pregnancy if taken within 120 hours (5 days) after sex and levonorgestrel within 72 hours (3 days) but you should ideally take it within 24-72 hours (2-3 days) to maximise its efficacy.

Myth #4 – Emergency contraception is effective even if you are already pregnant.

Emergency contraception works by temporarily stopping the release of an egg, decreasing the likelihood of pregnancy. Although less likely, emergency contraception can also prevent the fertilization of the egg if ovulation has already occurred.

Because sperm can live in your body for up to five days aftex sex, it is important to take emergency contraception as soon as possible. If ovulation occurs during this time, the sperm may meet to fertilize your egg; if the fertilized egg implants in your uterus, you will become pregnant. Emergency contraception will not be effective if the fertilized egg has implanted before taking the pill.

Myth #5 – If you take emergency contraception you will be protected from pregnancy in the future.

Taking the emergency contraception pill will help prevent pregnancy only once. After taking emergency contraception, you should return to using your regular method of birth control. However, should you need to take emergency contraception again in the future, it is perfectly safe to do so without any major side effects.

Accessing emergency contraception

Accessing emergency contraception can be a little daunting, but we’re here to help! At Ease, we offer the two types of  emergency contraception pills available in Singapore and deliver them to your doorstep discreetly. How does it work? Fill up a short health questionnaire, have a 5 minutes video consultation with one of our doctors and get your package delivered in discreet packaging to you within 4hrs.

 

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