This was all over the American media on May 13th for the Obama administration filed a last-minute appeal to delay the sale of the morning-after pill to girls of any age without a prescription. There have been court rulings against and for this appeal in the past. However, we will have to wait for the final decision. Back in India, there have been no such issues regarding the availability of this magic pill. Popularly known as iPill (no, it’s not designed by Steve Jobs!) the morning-after pill is rumored to bring sexual freedom to India.
How effective is the Morning after Pill?
When you have sex without birth control, your risk of becoming pregnant depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle. During your most fertile days – midway between two menstrual periods – the risk of becoming pregnant could be as high as 30%.
In a multi-center study, following the standard YUZPE Regina, the WHO has found a failure rate of about 10%. If you are already pregnant or had unprotected intercourse within the 10 days prior to the current 72-hour period you are NOT a candidate for the Morning after Pill.
Methods of Emergency Contraception
Combination of ethinyl estradiol 0.1 mg with 1mg of db- norgestrel, taken twice – 12 hours apart, i.e., oral 2 tablets stat and repeat after 12 hours. The drugs should be taken within 72 hours of unprotected coitus
If you are late (72 hours passed) and not more than 5 days, a health care professional can help you out by insertion an IUD.
However, there are risks to the fetus if the above-mentioned methods fail to stop the pregnancy. They are:
- Development of limb defect and cardiovascular defect, but the chances are very remote or nil.
- Development of vaginal adenosis and adenocarcinoma in the children. Due to pressure of tube risks it is suggested that in case the method fails, it is better to undergo early termination of pregnancy.
Where can I get the Morning after Pill?
You can receive the Morning after Pill at the Family Planning Center or with the gynecologist. Go as soon as possible since the medication must be started within 72 hours after intercourse.
How does it Work?
Morning after pills contain hormones to stop ovaries releasing eggs. They also make the womb slippery so that the fertilized eggs cannot stick to it and cannot develop into a baby.
What are the side effects of the Morning after Pill?
Common side effects during MAP treatment are nausea or vomiting. Less common ones are headache, breast tenderness, dizziness, and fluid retention. For most women, the MAP is a simple and safe option for reducing the chance of pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. However, if you should experience any of the following symptoms, contact your doctor immediately.
- Abdominal pain.
- Chest pain, cough, or shortness of breath.
- Headache, dizziness, weakness, or numbness.
- Eye problems (vision loss or blurring), speech problems.
- Severe leg pain (calf or thigh).
How soon will I get my period?
About 50% of women will have a period within a week of taking the MAP. Most of the remaining 50% will menstruate within 21 days. Remember that your next menstrual period may be irregular and heavy. If you do not get your period after three weeks, it will be important for you to return to doctor for an examination and pregnancy test.
When should I start using birth control?
Start using an effective ongoing method of birth control immediately. The morning after pill is meant only for onetime protection. Also protect yourself from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases by using a condom every time you have sex.
Emergency contraception should not be used as your primary method of birth control. It is, as the name implies, or emergencies.