An Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Dr James Odofin has cautioned against the use of emergency contraceptive pills as a regular or long-term birth control measure.
The health expert said such emergency contraceptives cannot replace long-term contraceptives like barrier methods, injectable hormonal contraceptives, and intrauterine contraceptive devices.
He stated that some women who are abusing emergency contraceptives like Postinor by using it regularly are engaging in a wrong practice, noting that physicians will not prescribe them as a regular or long-term birth control measure.
According to the WHO, emergency contraception refers to methods of contraception that can be used to prevent pregnancy after sexual intercourse. These are recommended for use within five days but are more effective the sooner they are used after the act of intercourse.
Explaining, Odofin said emergency contraceptives contain levonorgestrel, a form of progestogen that works by preventing the implantation of fertilised eggs.
Odofin, who is a senior registrar at the Federal Medical Centre Ebutte Metta said, “Postinor cannot be used regularly or on long term basis as there are other methods that can be used continually or put in place to allow such continual prevention of pregnancy to a certain extent.”
“Postinor, though readily available should not be abused as it is only indicated when there is unprotected sex during the woman’s fertile period, or in case of rape.
He also added that it should be used judiciously as some women do not understand how emergency contraceptives work.
“If a woman has about 12 fertile periods or so in a year, ideally a dose of Postinor-2, an emergency contraceptive, is only needed if the woman engages in unprotected sex with its attendant risk of pregnancy during any of these periods.
“But, because few women may not have this basic understanding, they use Postinor-2 anytime they have sex irrespective of its relationship(sex) to their fertile periods.
“It then becomes drug abuse. Therefore, every woman should be able to ascertain her fertile period to relate it to time of unprotected sex and the need or otherwise of emergency contraception like Postinor-2.”
He also said that some of the side effects of the abuse of Postinor are nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, weakness, or vaginal bleeding.
He stated further that contraceptives, in general, are only a form of family planning.
Contraceptives, he stressed, do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases, noting that Nigerians must embrace the culture of adequate protection during casual sex to prevent STDs and stay away from regular use of emergency contraceptives.Copyright PUNCH
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