Advance emergency contraception doesn't reduce pregnancy rates

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Washington, Mar 17 (ANI): Women who take emergency contraception in advance of need do not reduce their chances of getting pregnant, despite increased and faster use of such medications after unprotected sexual intercourse, concludes a new study.

Women who take emergency contraception up to five days after unprotected sex are less likely to become pregnant.

However, there are chances that women may not be able to access emergency contraception within this time frame.

In some countries, for instance, emergency contraceptives are not available over the counter and it can be difficult to arrange an appointment with a doctor on public holidays or weekends.

One solution could be that the women should keep a set of emergency contraceptive pills for immediate use, should it be needed.

The review included 11 trials and involved a total of 7,695 women from the US, China, India and Sweden.

The researchers studied the effect of advance provision of emergency contraception on rates of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as well as on sexual behaviour and contraceptive use.

They found that women with advance access to emergency contraception had similar rates of pregnancy as women who did not receive the medication in advance.

Women given emergency contraception in advance were no more likely to have unprotected sex, to contract STIs, or to change their use of other contraceptive methods.

But, women with advance provision did take the medication an average of 13 hours sooner after sex, and were more likely to use emergency contraception at all.

"Our review suggests that strategies for advance provision of emergency contraception which have been tested to date do not appear to reduce unintended pregnancy at the population level. At the same time, advance provision does not appear to increase the risk of unprotected sex or sexually transmitted infections, and does not change use of other contraceptive methods," said lead researcher Chelsea Polis of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

"Some women may not use emergency contraception when needed, even if they have it in advance.

Like condoms, emergency contraception will not work if it is not used. Women should still be given information about and easy access to emergency contraception, because it is a safe and effective way to prevent unintended pregnancies for individual women who will use it when needed," added Polis.

The findings have been published in The Cochrane Library. (ANI)

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