When it comes to health, I’d like to think I’m a pretty savvy gal. I love research, I stay up to date with what’s happenin’ in the world. I mean, I’m a doctor’s daughter! I have a journalism degree! But hand to heart: I had no idea the morning-after pill wasn’t an abortion until long after I graduated college. And I’m not an isolated case.
Myths and misinformation fly wild in the realm of women’s health. The rhetoric used to “educate” Betties about their health often comes with an agenda intended to stigmatize, or silence topics critical to our body literacy.
And we won’t have it. So, let’s bust some myths, Betties, so you know the facts to make informed decisions about hormonal emergency contraception.
MYTH: EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION EQUALS THE ABORTION PILL
FACT: Y’all, EC and the “abortion pill” live on two completely different continents regarding purpose and how they operate.
The “abortion pill,” also known as medication abortion, involves the use of two medications: mifepristone and misoprostol. Mifepristone blocks the hormones that support early pregnancy, while misoprostol causes the uterine muscle to contract, resulting in abortion. Hormonal Emergency Contraception, on the other hand, prevents ovulation using a hormone pill. Different methods, different missions. While these two medications are typically used together, misoprostol can be used on its own as an abortive option
MYTH: EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION CAUSES AN ABORTION
FACT: Wrong-o! Emergency contraception operates to prevent pregnancy by acting on the process leading up to fertilization. The dosage of progestin found in hormonal EC pills blocks ovulation, stopping fertilization from occurring in the first place.
Also, hormonal EC does not have any effect on an existing pregnancy, because it’s not designed to disrupt or harm an implanted embryo!
MYTH: I MUST TAKE EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION WITHIN 24 HOURS FOR IT TO WORK
FACT: Not exactly. EC is still effective if taken within 72 hours, but less so. Aim to pop a pill within 24 hours of unprotected sex or contraception failure (e.g. condom breakage, incorrect usage).
MYTH: I WON’T NOTICE ANY PHYSICAL SYMPTOMS IF I TAKE EC PiLLS
FACT: EC might throw a curveball at you with a medley of symptoms: irregular bleeding, cramping, abdominal bloating, tender bosoms, and maybe even a touch of queasiness. But hold on tight, because the intensity of these symptoms can be as unique as each Betty herself.
MYTH: EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION IS HARMFUL + CAN CAUSE LONG-TERM SIDE EFFECTS
FACT: No harm, no foul! Rest easy knowing that EC won’t mess with your long-term health. Those hormones? Nothing new, they’re the same ones found in those hormonal contraceptives we already know and love. So, worry not, because EC’s got your back with boatloads of data assuring this stuff is as safe as can be for preventing pregnancy.
MYTH: I CAN JUST USE EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION INSTEAD OF GETTING ON BIRTH CONTROL
FACT: Hormonal emergency contraceptives are meant for just that…emergencies. EC is not 100 percent effective, only works if you have not ovulated, and comes with the possible side effects mentioned earlier. So, the morning-after pill makes for a stellar backup plan to keep on hand, but relying on “Plan B” for your Plan A to prevent pregnancy is not the move, babe. Be a body-smart Betty and find a contraception method that suits your medical history, budget, and lifestyle!
MYTH: I NEED A PRESCRIPTION TO ACCESS EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION
FACT: Time is of the essence when taking emergency contraception – and thankfully, you don’t have to waste precious minutes tracking down a prescription. Pop into any drugstore and snag a box off the shelf – no doctor’s visit required! And hey, if money is tight, some clinics might even give it away for a steal or for absolutely nada.
MYTH: EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION=JUST A PILL
FACT: Hormonal emergency contraception often answers to the “morning-after pill,” but we can’t forget about the copper IUD, which can also act as emergency contraception up to five days post-intercourse!
Separating fact from fiction can feel like an everyday battle when learning about your body + health + making decisions about how to protect both. We see you, Betties.
And when Betties miss out on the facts, their whole-self health suffers – misinformed decision-making, delayed care (or none at all!), worsened symptoms, and a reluctance to trust their healthcare providers.
This is why Betty’s Co. exists – to provide you with the information you need to make informed decisions about your reproductive well-being.