What is Emergency Contraception?
Emergency contraception is a way to prevent pregnancy after you have unprotected sex. It usually comes in the form of a pill (sometimes called the morning-after pill or Plan-B) although some kinds of intrauterine devices can be used as emergency contraception. The emergency contraception pill works by introducing a large dose of hormones to stop ovulation while the sperm still exists inside the vagina (which can last for up to 6 days). There are two types of emergency contraception pills, and each requires a different timeframe after you have unprotected sex. One type requires a prescription from your gynecologist and should be taken within 5 days. The other type, most popularly called Plan-B, is available at most drugstores and pharmacies. This type should be taken within three to five days. Many women don’t keep track of when they’re ovulating, so it’s most effective when you take emergency contraception as soon as possible.
Is Emergency Contraception right for me?
Emergency contraception should not be taken as a regular method of birth control because it can be more costly, come with more uncomfortable side effects, and is not as effective as other methods. However, you should take it in situations where you forgot to use your regular method, a condom broke or slipped off, or you didn’t consent to unprotected sex, for example. Emergency contraception will make it much less likely that you become pregnant after unprotected intercourse— it will not end an existing pregnancy. The type of emergency contraception that will work best for you depends on factors like your weight, your menstrual cycle, and whether you normally use a different method of contraception, so your gynecologist can make sure you take the right kind within the right timeframe.
What are the risks?
There are no serious risks with emergency contraception. However, it can come with some side effects for a few days after you take it. This can include nausea, headache, bleeding, and cramping, but these side effects can be managed at home. Emergency contraception will not protect against STDs, so you should speak with your gynecologist about the right screenings.
How do I get started on Emergency Contraception?
The best way to determine whether you should take emergency contraception and when is by speaking with your gynecologist. We can provide emergency contraception at our office after we discuss the right option for you based on different factors. We can also discuss your existing contraception methods or recommend new ones based on your preferences.
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We understand protecting yourself against pregnancy doesn’t always work perfectly, so we provide the tools you need to take charge of your reproductive health with the help of our compassionate, expert team. To schedule an appointment, contact our New York City office by calling or filling out our online form.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Can morning after pills fail?
It is possible for emergency contraceptives, or “morning after,” pills to fail. Some reasons include ovulation timing, drug interactions, or incorrect dosage.
Can you take emergency contraception two days in a row?
Taking an additional emergency contraception dose two days in a row is usually unnecessary, as additional doses do not increase effectiveness.
Can you take the morning after pill twice in one week?
Yes, there’s no limit to the number of times you can take Plan B pills.
Does morning after pill kill fertilized egg?
The morning after pill (aka “Plan B”) works by thinning the endometrium (the lining of the uterus), making it more ‘hostile’ to implantation of a fertilized egg, therefor the sooner it is used after unprotected intercourse, the more effective it is.