What do Period Pills do?
Period pills bring on your period when it is late, even by just a few days. If you are pregnant, these pills will end your very early pregnancy. But you do not have to take a pregnancy test or confirm you are pregnant before using period pills. They are safe; they have been used around the world for decades; and they are more than 90% effective at ensuring non-pregnancy as early as three or four days after your period is late.
Yes! Period Pills are real.
Yes! Period Pills are real. In the United States we have used these pills for twenty years to provide safe, early medication abortion. But in other countries around the world, these pills are also used when periods are late and folks want to get their period and not to be pregnant. Sometimes this is referred to as menstrual regulation, or pushing a period, or bringing down a period. For example, in Bangladesh, the government promotes menstrual regulation, and women may take period pills up to ten weeks after missing their periods, to ensure they are not pregnant.
Bringing on Periods is Traditional
Historically , Americans used early interventions to bring on periods. These interventions were acceptable, normal ways for women to ensure that they were not pregnant before any pregnancy was confirmed. In colonial America, for instance, pregnancies were confirmed when a woman could feel her fetus moving inside her (around 14-16 weeks after her last menstrual period), at the “quickening”. Women could try to bring down their periods before the quickening if they didn’t want to have a child at that time.
Possible Pregnancies Come With Uncertainty
Today we can find out very quickly if a pregnancy may be starting in our bodies by using home pregnancy tests. But as many of us who have tried to get pregnant have discovered, positive pregnancy tests regularly result in chemical pregnancies or early miscarriages -- we get our periods late, and a possible pregnancy doesn’t stick. Late period pills let us choose to get our periods or have chemical pregnancies when we don’t want a pregnancy to become established. Instead of waiting and worrying, we can take pills and bring on our periods.
This traditional way of controlling fertility may seem new and surprising, but it’s actually a very old way of embracing uncertainty when we think we might be pregnant and don’t want to be.