In our article, we will review the most effective birth control pills designed for use after unprotected intercourse. You will learn the rules for using these drugs, as well as their features.
Postcoital contraception (emergency contraception) is considered extremely undesirable pregnancy prevention. The need to take these drugs arises if a woman forgot to take an oral contraceptive on time or a condom broke during intercourse. Often, emergency contraception is used after sexual intercourse of a violent nature.
It should be noted that the prevention of pregnancy is possible only if the woman takes an emergency contraceptive pill within 3 days (72 hours) after unprotected intercourse.
Levonorgestrel-based birth control pills
Emergency contraceptives that contain levonorgestrel prevent the fertilization of the egg. The pill delays ovulation due to cervical mucus, which prevents sperm from entering the egg.
The efficiency of emergency birth control pills depends on the time that has passed after sexual intercourse:
- 1-24 hours – 95% efficiency;
- 25-48 hours – 85% efficiency;
- 49-72 hours – 58% efficiency.
The most effective emergency contraceptives based on levonorgestrel are:
- New Day
- Plan B
- Next Choice
- Morning After
- Rugby Levonorgestrel Tablet
- Take Action
- My Way
- Fallback Solo
- EContra EZ
- My Choice
Mifepristone-based emergency contraception
Thanks to the active substance (mifepristone), ovulation becomes impossible if you take the pill within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse. If more than 3 days have passed, mifepristone (increased dosage) is used as abortion in the early stages (up to 9 weeks).
Mifepristone is available under the following different brand names:
Combination oral contraceptives for emergency contraception (The Yuzpe regimen)
The Yuzpe method is emergency contraception, which is based on the use of oral contraceptives.
To effectively prevent unwanted pregnancy, it is recommended to take pills within 24 hours after unprotected intercourse. The following medications can be used for emergency contraception:
Take tablets twice. It is recommended to take 2-5 tablets (depends on the type of medication!) with a small amount of clean water. Take other 2-5 tablets exactly after 12 hours.
Emergency contraception and breast-feeding
If a woman has decided to use hormonal drugs during breastfeeding to prevent unwanted pregnancy, it is necessary to stop breastfeeding for 36 hours. In order not to interfere with milk production during this period of time, a woman needs to express milk and replace her baby’s nutrition with milk formula by age. During the lactation period, a woman can choose any of the above types of medications. However, experts recommend giving preference to tablets based on levonorgestrel. The most suitable options are Next Choice One Dose, New Day, Morning After, Preventeza, AfterPill, Rugby Levonorgestrel Tablet, Take Action, Fallback Solo, Plan B One Step, and Aftera.
What is the safest emergency contraception?
The safest emergency contraception is the Yuzpe method. Low-dose medications have the smallest number of side effects. If you follow the instructions for use, the effectiveness of this method is 90%.
These birth control pills can be purchased over the counter.
It should be noted that vaginal contraceptives are not suitable for emergency contraception due to low effectiveness.
Experts recommend taking emergency contraceptives only if pregnancy is extremely undesirable. You should pay attention to the fact that the use of these medications may cause difficulties with a subsequent pregnancy.
Based on reviews on the Internet, it can be concluded that 30% of women regularly use emergency birth control pills after sexual. Many women prefer Plan B, Next Choice One Dose, New Day, Take Action, Fallback Solo, Plan B One-Step, Aftera, Morning After, Preventeza, and AfterPill. They say the tablets were effective and did not cause any side effects.
Who should not use emergency birth control pills?
You should not to risk your health and avoid taking levonorgestrel-containing drugs in the following cases:
- pathology of the liver, biliary tract, as well as with existing liver failure;
- young age (16 years or less);
- confirmed pregnancy (an egg has already been implanted, and it is impossible to expel it from the uterus);
- lactose intolerance and / or impaired absorption of glucose and galactose (component tablets);
- Crohn’s disease (bowel disease);
- unstable menstrual cycle or cycles with irregularities (bleeding between menstruation, painful or adundant periods);
- hormone-dependent tumors of the reproductive system;
- a history of ectopic pregnancy;
- an increase in the coagulation system.
It is not recommended to take drugs that contain mifepristone in the following situations:
- kidney or liver failure;
- long-term use of glucocorticoids (prednisone, dexamethasone, and others);
- bleeding disorder or recent anticoagulant therapy;
- adrenal insufficiency;
- confirmed pregnancy;
- severe chronic diseases;
- ectopic pregnancy in the past;
- women aged 35 years and older – use with caution (especially smokers).
What are the dangers of morning-after pills?
Before using the contraceptive pills described above, it is worth learning about the consequences, which are sometimes irreversible:
- ectopic pregnancy – The risk of such a formidable disease as an ectopic pregnancy increases several times since the egg transport process is disturbed;
- bleeding – Menstrual disorders are quite frequent, which can lead to heavy bleeding, and the only way to stop it will be to curettage the uterine cavity (this moment has a lot of complications);
- the threat of infertility in the future – Taking emergency contraceptive pills by teenage girls can disrupt the menstrual cycle and also cause infertility in the future;
- thrombosis – Massive doses of hormones in these drugs can cause thrombosis, which can lead to stroke, pulmonary embolism and even death (especially in women with hemostatic disorders, after 35 years and in smokers);
- Crohn’s disease – oral contraceptives and “next day’s pills” increase the risk of Crohn’s disease by 3 times.
In addition, you should remember about side effects, which do not add charms to the situation:
- mastalgia (breast tenderness);
- severe nausea and even vomiting;
- significant headaches, migraine;
- pain in the lower abdomen;
- emotional instability;
- allergy – itching and rash.
Watch this video if you care about your health before deciding to take any emergency contraceptives. This is especially true for young girls who want to have children in the future. Even a healthy woman without obvious contraindications can experience pulmonary thromboembolism after taking emergency birth control pills.
How to choose emergency birth control?
Morning-after pills should be selected by the doctor who will be able to take into account indications, contraindications to the use of the medicine. But in most cases, there is no time to visit a gynecologist. Therefore, you must carefully read the instructions for use before buying a medicine and consult a pharmacist.