Do you remember last night? The smoky bar room, beer, and wine the dancing and the kissing. All the pieces for a romantic and meaningful one-night stand were fitting into your puzzle for excitement just perfectly until you woke up, that is. Suddenly you find some person in your home, half dressed and smelling of aged beer and your mind starts wandering and wondering just what it is you did last night. The morning after pill was developed for just this reason and is dubbed ‘emergency birth control’ which pretty much says it all in a nutshell. The controversy around the pill ranges from ‘right to life’ to serious health risks and before thinking it is the cure all to your one night stand there are some things you should know. To be fair, it must be mentioned that it isn’t only regrettable acts or one-night standers that are using the morning after pill, as many happily married people and faithful couples too have resorted to this remedy for preventing an unintended pregnancy.
Essentially, the morning after pill or emergency contraception pill is made with the same hormones that are in birth control pills. The difference is that these pills have higher doses which can make implantation possible keep the sperm from reaching an egg that may or may not be in the uterus. It is important to understand that unprotected intercourse within 5 days (before or after) of ovulation can lead to a pregnancy. While most OBGYN’s feel confident that sperm cannot live 10 days in the uterus, there are always inconsistencies when it comes to human nature. The morning after pill must be taken with 72 hours of unprotected sex with a second dose being taken an additional 12 hours later.
The morning after pill is not without side effects. Since high levels of levronorgestrel, estrogen and progestin are being take dizziness, nausea, cramping, menstrual changes, headaches, body aches, pain, fatigue, vomiting and abdominal discomfort are all prevalent and expected side affects. The reason that the side effects can be severe is because it is taken as a preventative measure to pregnancy which means it has to work in as many ways as possible. It will stop ovulation, stop the sperm from traveling, and restrict a fertilized egg’s ability to implant properly with the hopes that no matter where you are in your cycle, pregnancy does not occur.
Many people get the morning after pill confused with the abortion pill. A morning after pill does not extinguish an otherwise viable pregnancy. This pill is an exact replica of birth control however rather than taking it in a monthly dose; you are taking it all at once to prevent pregnancy from becoming possible. The abortion pill is dangerous and is used to terminate a pregnancy once it has become established. In fact, morning after pills often referred to as the Plan B pill- is available over the counter at most pharmacies without any prescription. They are not available to girls 16 and under without a doctor’s prescription since the overdosing of hormones can be disruptive to their monthly cycles.
Obviously, there are many opinions on the morning after pills. Research estimates that only one out of every five women actually knows that they exist without having to see a doctor. And, of these women even fewer realize that they can buy them in drugstores or call in to their practitioner for a prescription strength emergency contraceptive. In many ways, especially for women or couples who think they may have just had an ‘accident’ this pill offers second chances in life. It really isn’t for the general public to decide for another when is the right or wrong time to get pregnant. When you consider that almost half of all pregnancies are unintended, it gives pause to consider who might have taken the morning after pill should they have known it was available.
In many ways, the morning after pill is absolutely no different from taking birth control. It makes a conscious choice to NOT pursue parenthood and is a generally safe and effective way to deal with unprotected intercourse. Since the pill does not terminate a pregnancy that is already developing, it can be likened to using a condom. Speaking of condoms, the morning after pill is a great way to protect yourself should one incidentally break during use.
There are obvious dangers to having unprotected sex that the morning after pill cannot help. If you are thinking about taking this pill, you should be warned about the high incidences of sexually transmitted diseases and other health concerns that unprotected sex can have on your body. With HPV becoming so prevalent in women it is obvious that foregoing the condoms seems to occur more often than not. Sadly, long before it is diagnosed, HPV and other diseases can cause serious health risks and even prove to damage your fertility in the future. These are all things that no morning after pill can fix. Chances are you don’t want to be lectured about the consequences of unprotected sex, however use the morning after pill as a lesson. Finding yourself in a sticky situation like possibly becoming pregnancy before you really wanted to, are life altering, and should be used as an opportunity to think about your choices in life and the path that you are on. Even if you are in a very committed relationship, using the morning after pill can mean that there are some issues in the relationship that might need answering.
In research conducted at a major university, women who took the morning after pill were asked whether or not they told their partner about their decision to do so. 85% if these women admitted to not sharing this information with others, including their partner and doctors or parents. While the morning after pill can be a quick fix for a seemingly sticky situation it certainly isn’t the answer to everything. Take care of both your body and your mind by making valuable choices for yourself especially as it regards to your health and fertility. However, used with caution and when necessary, the morning after pill can be a lifesaver.