- Plan B
- 89% effective
- Use within 48 hours of unprotected sex
- Contains estrogen
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.
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 time frame.
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 STD’s 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.