What you need to know about the Morning After Pill
The Morning After Pill is a type of emergency contraception or birth control and can be bought at any pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription. Sometimes, accidents happen. The condom broke during sex, having sex without a condom or maybe you were forced to have unprotected sex (in the case of a rape; go to your nearest health facility to be assessed by the health practitioner.
HIV counselling and testing will be offered and depending on results, if negative post-exposure prophylaxis). The drug regimen for PEP consists of a combination of ARV mediations that are taken for a period of four weeks. Either way the last thing you need is an unplanned pregnancy. Taking the Morning After Pill in these instances, will help prevent pregnancy.
You should, however take note of the following:
When do you take the Morning After Pill?
The Morning After Pill is most effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 24 hours of unprotected to sex. While it can be taken up to four days later, the Pill’s effectiveness in stopping pregnancy is greatly reduced. The Morning After Pill is provided freely at public clinics/Rape Crisis Centres in the case of rape to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
How does the Morning After Pill work?
The pill works by delaying the release of the egg from the woman’s ovaries. It does not prevent fertilisation of the egg or implantation of the egg in the uterus. The Morning After Pill will not end or abort an existing pregnancy. It is also not an on-going method of contraception.
Where do you get the Morning After Pill?
The Pill is available at clinics or pharmacies without a prescription. A healthcare provider will ask you a few questions to determine whether you can still take the pill or if you will need to be referred to a doctor.
When should you not take the Morning After Pill?
Do not take the Morning After Pill if you are already pregnant, if more than five days have passed since you had unprotected sex or if your period is late.
How often can you use the Morning After Pill?
It should only be used in emergency situations. It is not as good as other methods of contraception. And it cannot protect you against HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If used often it can potentially upset your usual menstrual cycle. Speak to a doctor about contraception methods to best suit you.
If you don’t get your period within three weeks of taking the Morning After Pill, you will have to visit your doctor or clinic as you could be pregnant. The Pill usually doesn’t cause harm to a developing baby. You also discuss with your doctor options available to you, should you decide not to have the baby.
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