Birth Control Pills and Pregnancy

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Birth control pills are a wonderful method for preventing pregnancy. However, if the pills are not taken properly and as advised you could still end up getting pregnant.
How so you might ask?
Birth control pills maintain a constant level of hormones in your body. If you skip or miss a dose, your hormone levels drop suddenly. This can cause you to ovulate and thus increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

Birth control pills are 99 percent effective if taken regularly, at the same time every day without missing a dose. If you miss a dose or two or take it late then it’s about 91 percent effective. This means that the effectiveness of the pills depends largely on remembering to take the pill daily.

For the pills to give you the protection that you need, be as regular as clockwork in taking them. Fix a time for taking your daily pill and stick to it. Schedule the time with lunch or dinner or some other daily activity so that you do not miss a single dose. Set reminders on your phone or watch.

How to take pills?
Stay with the placebo pills. The pills combo typically contain three weeks of active pills that contain hormones and one week of inactive, or placebo, pills. Although it isn’t medically necessary to take the placebo pills, you should still take them. Doing so will help you stay in your routine. You will not delay or forget to start a new pack of pills.

If you still miss a dose, or think you have missed one use a backup method such as a condom, or barrier gel during sex or avoid sex for the next week, or month to be extra safe. You could also take a day after pill if you have had sex already while missing a dose.

Things affecting the pill's effectiveness-
1. Alcohol consumption can also cause birth control failure. Some women may forget to take their pill after having had a few drinks. Or they may vomit out their pill accidentally. This can again lead to accidental pregnancy. In any case it makes sense to limit your alcohol intake as alcohol  affects the way your liver metabolises your medication. Your pill can become less effective after alcohol.

2. Taking another medication or supplement at the same time as your birth control pill can also affect the pill’s effectiveness. Some anti-seizure drugs, antibiotics, antidepressants or HIV drugs can make the pill less effective. Before you begin taking a new medicine, ask your doctor  if you should use a backup method of protection while taking this new medication.

Be Careful!
Always be alert to the symptoms of pregnancy. You don't want to be caught off guard just because you are "on the pill". The earliest symptoms of pregnancy can be easily overlooked, or attributed to other causes. In fact the pills itself can cause you nausea, a missed period or feelings of fatigue. Sometimes, there is initial bleeding in pregnancy when the foetus implants itself in the uterus. This can be taken for a light period and thus be misleading.

If you have any suggestive symptoms such as nausea, breast tenderness, craving for certain foods it would be best to take a pregnancy test to confirm or deny your pregnancy status. A simple home pregnancy detection test should do the trick. It can be repeated if required. To further confirm the diagnosis you could opt for a visit to your doctor and/or a blood test too.

If you discover that you ARE pregnant you will need to decide whether you intend to keep or terminate the pregnancy. If you decide  to terminate the pregnancy, you should go in for it as soon as possible. The earlier you take action the safer and easier it will be for you.

If you plan to keep the pregnancy, you’ll need to go off of the birth control pill and start taking daily prenatal vitamins with at least 400 micro-grams of folic acid. You’ll also need to go for doctor visits and  prenatal tests.

You might worry that taking birth control pills could have harmed your developing baby. Not so. There is no increased risk of birth defects if the mother has been taking birth control pills. However, it IS important to stop taking the pill as soon as you suspect pregnancy.

Supposing you find out weeks later that you are pregnant but have in the meanwhile been taking the pill you may still rest assured that your baby is safe.

Becoming pregnant while on the pill however, does increase your risk of ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy means that the foetus has attached itself outside the uterus, often in the fallopian tube. This is a very serious, life-threatening problem. It can easily be ruled out by an ultrasound examination.

So stay updated and ask all your doubts from verified doctors of your choice, while sitting a home, download LAIMA.

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