The choice of birth control pills otherwise called contraceptive pills and emergency contraceptive pills can be very daunting for most women.
These pills work by preventing the release of eggs every month (ovulation), prevent sperm from reaching the uterus through thickening of cervical mucus and also thinning the lining of the uterus (endometrium) thereby making it difficult for eggs to be implanted.
The choice of any contraceptive pill will depend on; Breastfeeding, Menstrual symptoms, Other medications, Other health conditions and Cardiovascular health.
Birth Control pills can be mini pills (only progestin hormones) or combined pills (oestrogen and progestin). They are an effective method of birth control if taken correctly for either 21 days or 28 days as may be recommended by your doctor. Birth control pills are relatively safe to use with minimal risks. It is important to discuss with your doctor on the choice of birth control pills.
Emergency contraceptive pills on the other hand can be used up to 120 hours (five days) after an unprotected sexual intercourse. They are only reserved for specific situations such as missed doses of regular contraceptive pills, failure of a barrier method (condom) during intercourse; they work by causing delay of ovulation.
There are two types of emergency contraceptive pills. ‘Morning after’ Pills (hormonal or non hormonal) and Copper IUD. These are readily available in pharmacies but you will need to have a consultation with a pharmacist. They are not recommended as regular form of birth control pills.
- Keep your pills handy closer to where you can easily reach them.
- Take pills at the same time daily.
- Get an app reminder.
- Use a condom if you have multiple sexual partners as your pills do not protect against any sexually transmitted infection.
- Tell your doctors and pharmacists about any other long term medication including certain antibiotics,and anti epileptic drugs and certain over the counter herbal medicines such as St Johns wort.
- Tell your doctors about any previous blood clot, high blood pressure and migraines as this will help them with the choice of suitable birth control pill.
- Make plans to quit smoking as effectiveness of your combined pills can be affected by smoking.
- If you forget to take your birth control pills take the next dose as soon as you remember. Get a pregnancy test done if you miss your period in between taking pills.
- It is highly recommended that you speak to your doctor or family planning health practitioner on the choice of your birth control and emergency contraceptive pills.
ALWAYS CHECK WITH YOUR DOCTOR ON CHOICE OF BIRTH CONTROL PILL.