Emergency and Oral Contraceptives

1419 Words6 Pages
Emergency and Oral Contraceptives Contraception is the intentional prevention of conception or pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse. Contraceptives are more than 99 percent effective, and I believe they are a reliable form of birth control. Men and women want contraception in one form or another that is safe, effective, affordable, and easy to use. Today, more than ever, we have a variety of choices that meet these needs (Winikoff 1). Emergency contraception has been available for more than 25 years and could prevent 1.7 million unintended pregnancies and 800,000 abortions each year in the U.S. It is a safe and effective method of contraception, and women who have used it report high levels of satisfaction. These successfully staggering numbers are evidence of the effectiveness of contraception. A more common name for emergency contraception is the ‘morning after’ pill. But this indeed is an inaccurate generalization. The pill can be taken the night of sexual intercourse, and even up to 72 hours after intercourse. A woman using the emergency contraceptive method should begin taking the recommended dosage within the first 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse. The recommended dosage, which is two pills, is to be taken 12 hours apart. For best results, the first pill is to be taken within the 72 hour time frame, yet studies do show effectiveness if taken after that period. The second pill must be taken 12 hours after the first (Samra). The emergency contraceptive pills each contain .05 mg of the hormone ethinyl estradiol and .5 mg of the hormone norgestrel. The ingestion of these hormones is what prevents or delays ovulation. These hormones also can prevent the fertilization of the egg, if one has already been released from the ovary, and may interfere with the implantation of an egg. Scientific evidence suggests the pills work before pregnancy occurs by preventing or delaying ovulation (Syrop). Although emergency contraception is considered safe and effective, it should not be used as an everyday method of contraception. Emergency contraception is not as effective as birth control pills, because of occasions where it is taken too late, and is associated with more uncomfortable side effects. The most common side effects are nausea and vomiting (Syrop). Another form of emergency contraception deals with the insertion of a copper-T intrauterine device (IUD) within five days of unprotected sex. Insertion of this device is more effective than emergency contraception. Inserting an IUD can prevent implantation of a fertilized egg 99 percent of the time, and can be left in place for up to ten years if desired (Syrop).

More about Emergency and Oral Contraceptives

Open Document