Emergency contraceptive pill myths busted
The emergency contraceptive pill; our knight in shining armour, unfortunately often comes with many misconceptions. It is a method that can be used to prevent pregnency after having unprotected sex however it is often painted as rigid medication, with only a sliver of time in which it can be used, but this is often not the case. The emergency contraceptive pill is quite a dynamic contraceptive option, and in this blog, we will run through some of the myths associated with it, to set the record straight.
Myth 1: It can only be used the morning after
Fact 1: The naming of the emergency contraceptive pill as the morning after pill in many spaces is part of the reason why this myth exists. In many cases, the emergency contraceptive pill can be used up to 5 days after you have had unprotected sex. Brands such as PostPil note that use can occur up to 120 hours after unprotected sex is, and the duration of time from when you have had unprotected sex does not impact the efficacy of it as long as it falls within the first 5 days.
Myth 2: A prescription is always needed to get an emergency contraceptive pill
Fact 2: In many countries, no prescription is required to access the emergency contraceptive pill. There are variations in legislation around the matter, but for the majority of countries, specifically in sub-saharan Africa, the EC pill is available without needing a prescription as it is a contraceptive option, which in all countries is legal.
Myth 3: The emergency contraceptive pill can only be used twice in one’s life time
Fact 3: The emergency contraceptive pill can be used more than two times in your lifetime. Many hold the belief that taking the pill more than twice will adversely affect your fertility and many practitioners wrongfully spread this message. However, numerous studies have shown that taking the EC pill more than twice in no way impacts your fertility. It is important to know that EC pills should not be used as a long term contraceptive and it is advised to seek out a long term contraceptive option after using the pill.
Myth 4: The most expensive pill is the most effective
Fact 4: The most expensive is not always the most effective. Perhaps it is the inherent belief in our societies that what costs more, works more effectively, but when it comes to the EC pill, this is definitely not true. Many emergency contraceptive pills are subsidized by governments or organisations, which in turn will affect their overall cost. Moreover emergency contraceptive pills have been around for a long time, which means their price point has been brought down accordingly as many options are now available.
Myth 5: The emergency contraceptive puts you at greater risk of developing an ectopic pregnancy
Fact 5: An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilised egg is implanted outside of the uterus. There is no evidence that shows taking the emergency contraceptive pill will increase the likelihood of developing an ectopic pregnancy. A study conducted revealed that even under the most conservative circumstances, there was absolutely no correlation between taking the EC Pill and having an ectopic pregnancy.
Myth 6: The emergency contraceptive protects you for your entire cycle
Fact 6: The emergency contraceptive does not protect you during your whole cycle, it instead delays ovulation, inhibits fertilisation or stops a fertilised egg from implanting into the uterus lining, depending on which part of your menstrual cycle the pill is administered. As such, the pill cannot be used as a long term contraceptive method. It is wise to learn more about your contraceptive options after you have used the pill in order to avoid using it as a contraceptive method.
Myth 7: The emergency contraceptive always comes in packets of two
Fact 7: There are many variants of the emergency contraceptive pill that come in single pill form such as the PostPil. Some options come with two pills that need to be taken at separate times, but the efficacy of these can often be lowered due to human error. There are many options that come in a one pill pack and are just as effective as the two pill option.
Do you have something to share? Leave your comments below, contact us on our social media platforms: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and TikTok or send us an email to email@example.com. For more information on contraception, visit findmymethod.org
About the author: Marie-Simone Kadurira is a Reproductive Health consultant in Southern Africa. She is also the founder of Vasikana Vedu, a non for profit organisation centred around combating period poverty in the region.