What is Emergency Contraception 2023, and When Should a Woman Consider it?

Emergency contraception (EC) is a method of preventing unexpected pregnancies after unprotected sex. EC can be used up to 5 days after unprotected sexual interactions. Greater awareness of EC and its proper usage can drastically …

Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception (EC) is a method of preventing unexpected pregnancies after unprotected sex.

EC can be used up to 5 days after unprotected sexual interactions. Greater awareness of EC and its proper usage can drastically reduce the rate of unintended pregnancy.

According to the World Health Organization, it is possible to reduce the chances of unexpected pregnancies by up to 95% if emergency contraception is used within the next 5 days after unprotected intercourse. 

There are two prominent methods of emergency contraception after unprotected sex.

The copper-bearing intrauterine devices (IDUs) and emergency contraception pills (ECPs). However, IUDs are more effective when compared with the emergency contraception pill to protect against unprotected sexual intercourse. 

We bring you a collection of clinical resources, research, educational materials, and links designed to inform patients and providers about this critical method of pregnancy prevention.

How Does Emergency Contraception Work? 

Emergency contraception is when an accident happens, and someone is at risk of unexpected pregnancies due to unprotected sex. This is one of the most efficient methods so far when it comes to protecting against unexpected pregnancies.

In such cases, if a woman takes a copper-bearing intrauterine device (IDU) or an emergency contraception pill (often called the morning-after pill), she can get rid of unexpected pregnancy issues.

But how? 

Let’s say a woman takes an emergency contraception pill within 3 or 5 days of unprotected sex. Now, the pill will have a chemical effect on the sperm and prevent or delay the release of an egg. In other words, the pill can delay ovulation.

On the other hand, the copper-bearing intrauterine device (IDU) is a plastic T-shaped device typically inserted into the uterus through the vagina or maybe with a doctor’s assistance.

Once implemented, the IDU releases copper, which is toxic to sperm. And thus, it is possible to get rid of unexpected pregnancies in most cases. 

Moreover, the IDU can work even if you take it after 3-5 days of unprotected sex.

And the World Health Organization estimates that the IDU can avoid unintended pregnancies in almost 99% of cases.

Why Should a Woman Take Emergency Contraception?

A woman should know precisely when to take the emergency conception. Doesn’t matter what emergency contraception ways someone goes with. 

Well, emergency contraception is for all women and girls who are at risk of expected pregnancies. Additionally, if something goes wrong during sex, this is more likely to occur.

In most cases, if there is an incorrect use of contraception during sex, women or girls should use emergency contraception. 

Sometimes, the condom might split during sex. Or, someone forgets to take a pregnancy control pill.

Besides, the hormonal ring may often misplace and can create the field of taking emergency contraception. 

Some of the most contraptions is −

  • Condom.
  • Hormonal ringing.
  • Female Condom.
  • Oral contraception.
  • Implant.
  • Vaginal douche.
  • Diaphragm/Cap.

Furthermore, it might also happen that a woman is not protected from any contraptions during sex.

In this case, she is in complete danger of unexpected pregnancies. More extremely, a raped woman or girl should take the emergency contraption IDU or pill as soon as the incident takes place. 

When Should a Woman Avoid Taking Emergency Contraception? 

There are some cases when taking emergency contraceptives is strictly forbidden.

Taking emergency contraception in such cases can’t provide any value. Instead, they can be extremely dangerous for women’s health. 

If a woman knows she is pregnant, she shouldn’t take the emergency contraceptive pill or IUD anemone. But, in other cases, emergency contraception can be used as it is just a one-time dose. 

Can a Woman Use Emergency Contraception as Routine Birth Control?

Emergency contraception can be used for emergencies or 3-5 days after unprotected sex, as we mentioned.

However, it is not recommended for someone to use emergency contraception as a routine birth control.

But why? 

First of all, using emergency contraception can be costly and inconvenient. Besides, it is not a sustainable birth control method.

In addition, side effects like irregular periods can also cause someone to use emergency contraception as routine birth control. 

Long story short, someone should only take emergency contraception when unprotected sex occurs. 

What Are the Side Effects of Emergency Contraception?

Emergency contraception does have some side effects. And it’s better if you are aware of this. 

The following list includes some of the most frequent harmful side effects of using emergency contraception (IUD or pill) −

  • Vomiting 
  • Headache 
  • Fatigue
  • Tiredness 
  • Nausea 
  • Tummy pain
  • Infection
  • Painful periods

Note − the side effects are minor, so there is nothing to worry a lot

How Much Does Emergency Contraception Cost? 

Depending on your area, an emergency contraception pill (ECP) can cost anything between $10-$40.

But there’s a catch. If someone is over 17, she doesn’t need any prescription to buy the emergency contraception pill (ECP). However, girls under 17 need prescriptions and healthcare visits might cost too much money. 

On the other hand, a copper-bearing intrauterine device (IDU) can cost around $500-$100. And it can be found in different drug stores, pharmacies, and contraception clinics.

When to Call a Doctor?

If the condition of your side effects becomes severe, it is important to seek medical attention. There is no reason to downplay the seriousness of this issue.

●      Abnormal vaginal bleeding.

●      Excessive pain.

●      Unexpected and frequent fever.

●      Missing period for one month after taking emergency contraception.

When experiencing any of these symptoms, you must contact your doctor immediately. These symptoms may indicate a serious health condition that requires medical attention.

Final Words

So, after going through this blog, you should know all the ins and outs of emergency contraceptives. It can be super handy, especially when you’re unprepared for accidental pregnancies. Although it has certain side effects, these are pretty mild, and there’s nothing for you to bother. Yet, you can always consult with a doctor if you feel pretty weak or if the impacts tend to stay longer.

Drug Integrity Associate Audrey Amos is a pharmacist with experience in health communication and has a passion for making health information accessible. She received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree from Butler University. As a Drug Integrity Associate, she audits drug content, addresses drug-related queries

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