Despite the fact that contraceptive methods have been significantly improved since their first appearance on the market, none of them give an absolute guarantee of protection. Therefore, it may happen that a woman is taking birth control while pregnant without knowing it. Does it bring any risks for the baby? Is it harmful? What should you do in such a situation? Let’s try to make it clear.
Why Is It Possible to Get Pregnant While Taking Birth Control Pills?
Oral contraceptives usually contain hormones that are similar in composition to those produced by the female body. The drugs affect the cervical excretion or the functioning of the ovaries. The first one contains substances that make the secretion produced by the body more viscous, not allowing penetration of the sperm into the female egg cell. The second one suppresses ovulation, not allowing the ovaries to work at full strength.
This is a perfect situation. But the human body is a complex system. Thus, oral contraceptives sometimes affect the body not in the way they should. Therefore, even the manufacturers claim that the level of pills’ effectiveness is no more than 99%. Pregnancy while taking birth control is possible.
Here Are Some of the Possible Reasons:
- A woman is suffering from a gastrointestinal disease. This ailment is accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea. In both cases, the taken pill may not have time to exert its effect, as it leaves the body too fast;
- A woman takes other drugs which neutralize the effect of contraceptives. These include antibiotics, antifungal agents, medications for allergies and cramps. Even seemingly harmless herbal teas can reduce the efficiency of contraceptives;
- A woman simply forgets to take a pill or takes it too late. Most oral contraceptives are used strictly on time. It’s not just about the days but also about the hours. If the break between doses is more than half a day a surprise pregnancy is quite possible. After completing a course of birth control pills, you should start the next one in 7 days. If these conditions are not observed the concentration of hormones needed for protection decreases. The probability of an unplanned conception, on the contrary, increases.
Birth Control Pills Don’t Give 100% Protection
A lot of women believe that they are sufficiently protected from unwanted pregnancies immediately after taking the first pill. In fact, the initial phase of using oral contraceptives requires other methods of protection. Even the most effective and expensive birth control pills are not magic. Suppression of ovulation requires a long-term effect on the ovaries. As a rule, in the first cycle of taking oral contraceptives, barrier ones are also needed.
It should be noted that contraceptives during pregnancy add estrogens to the body. The same applies to contraceptive drugs which are based on gestagens. And since these hormones are natural for the female body, it is a risk to choose such means of protection on your own. There is a possibility of the wrong dosage of these substances. So, instead of avoiding unwanted fertilization, you increase your chances of becoming pregnant.
Why Isn’t It Immediately Clear that a Woman is Pregnant?
Most women who protect themselves with the help of oral contraceptives are confident in their effectiveness. In general, they are right. The statistics confirm the reliability of this birth control method. Therefore, most people do not think about the possibility of pregnancy if they use birth control pills. In addition, almost all women undergo a period of getting used to a contraceptive. The organism often reacts to its reception with nausea, strange sensations in the stomach, and mood swings. That’s why the pregnancy symptoms are easy to misinterpret for signs of adaptation to the drug. The adaptation period can last up to six months.
Do Signs of Pregnancy Change on the Background of Birth Control Pills?
The most significant symptom of pregnancy is the missed period. But after long intake of birth control pills, it is already observed throughout the course.
So a woman has to wait until the end of her menstrual cycle to be sure of the effectiveness of the chosen remedy. If there is no menstruation you can also notice other pregnancy signs while taking birth control:
- The higher sensitivity of the breast. It gets uncomfortable to touch. The mammary glands are slightly swollen. It feels like your breast has become heavier. The sensitivity of the nipple area increases. But breast pain, typical for pregnancy, is usually absent;
- Indigestion, nausea, vomiting. Such signs of pregnancy after the intake of contraceptives are smooth. But sometimes there can be periods when the appetite significantly increases;
- Change in taste preferences. The food you usually like becomes unappetizing. Its smell seems unpleasant. And on the contrary, what you did not want to eat before becomes desirable. Sometimes the woman feels a strange desire to eat something inedible;
- Weight gain. The aforementioned increase in appetite together with the impact of artificial hormones can lead to the increase in weight. This kind of symptoms also appears due to the retention of water in the body. And if the pills contain estrogen it can become a reason for the growth of fatty tissue;
- Increased vaginal discharge. After the conception, your body seeks to protect the fetus from external influences. To do this, at the initial stage the cervix actively releases colorless mucus. And the secretory capabilities of the vagina also increase;
- Fatiguability. A woman is often sleepy, even if she doesn’t lack sleep at night. She gets tired much faster.
Other Signs of Pregnancy
- The work of the sebaceous glands worsens. The women who have skin and hair problems may find that their condition has become worse. Sometimes acne can appear on your face. This is caused by the natural hormonal shift and the work of synthetic substances contained in the pills;
- The rise of basal body temperature, usually up to 98.96 °F. But if you don’t measure it daily it is difficult to assess the value of this indicator. The individual changes in the body can make it a little higher or lower. Basal temperature gives information about the conception if you observe it in dynamics. After the conception, the indicator should go up.
- The signs of pregnancy while taking birth control pills are usually less expressed. Therefore, for an accurate understanding of the situation, one should go to a doctor and undergo an examination and tests. After the intake of birth control pills, pregnancy symptoms are often so smooth they’re able to “deceive” even the pharmacy test. Therefore, you shouldn’t rely solely on your own feelings.
Taking Birth Control While Pregnant: Can Pills Harm the Fetus?
The first question a woman asks, a bit scared, is: do contraceptives affect pregnancy? After all, doctors recommend that you wait for at least 3 months between stopping birth control and planning a pregnancy. It is explained by possible risks for the baby’s health.
Modern contraceptives contain minimal doses of hormones. These doses are enough to temporarily change the functioning of the ovaries. But they are safe for the embryo up to 6 weeks. The studies have proved that there is no connection between embryonic pathologies and the mother’s intake of oral contraceptives.
Taking birth control while pregnant can be harmful to the fetus after the 6th week of pregnancy. At this time the formation of hormone-sensitive organs and systems begins. But there are some nuances. Progesterone and estrogen are necessary for the normal childbearing process. When there are problems with these hormones artificially synthesized substances are prescribed to bring the indicators to the desired level. If the body does not produce the hormones on its own contraceptive pills in the early stages of pregnancy may not harm even after the 6th week. This, of course, does not mean that you need to continue taking them.
Can Taking Birth Control While Pregnant Cause a Miscarriage?
Some women think that taking birth control pills while pregnant can cause a miscarriage. This is also possible due to gynecological problems and other negative circumstances. But a healthy woman is unlikely to miscarry.
It’s clear that there is no need to take birth control while pregnant. But whatever decision the woman has made about the unplanned pregnancy, the pills intake should be stopped immediately. Statistics show that the percentage of miscarriages and fetal development disorders in such circumstances is higher than without the influence of oral contraceptives. If a woman is going to keep the baby she should immediately be examined by a gynecologist to make sure everything is okay, and then continue with her pregnancy, regularly taking all the necessary tests.