Emergency Contraception - The Morning After Pill
Afraid? Worried? Uncertain about last night?
If you have unprotected sex, there is immediate action you can take to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.
You can use emergency contraception if you had unprotected sex, or the condom broke, or you forgot to take your birth control pill.
Here are your choices:
Plan B One Step (and other generics)
- Available over the counter so no prescription needed
- It is most effective if used within 72 hours (3 days) of unprotected intercourse, although the sooner the better. It can be used up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse.
- You take a single tablet containing the artificial progesterone Levonorgestrel.
- The FDA recently stated there is no conclusive evidence that overweight or obese women have a higher failure rate, so there are no restrictions based on weight
- Works by delaying ovulation; can reduce the chance of pregnancy by up to 89% if used within 72 hrs
- Requires a prescription
- A single tablet containing the anti-progesterone Ulipristal acetate is taken within 5 days of unprotected intercourse (but the sooner the better)
- May be more effective than levonorgestrel, especially close to ovulation, and after 3 days have elapsed
- Some experts think it is more effective for overweight or obese women
- You need to wait 5-7 days before restarting a birth control pill (use condoms or abstain until then)
- Works by delaying ovulation, and possibly preventing implantation of a fertilized egg; can reduce chance of pregnancy by up to 88%
Birth Control Pill regimens
- Most birth control pills containing an estrogen can be taken in doses that work as an emergency contraceptive. Consult http://ec.princeton.edu/emergency-contraception.html to access a table about how to use your pill this way.
- Side effects like nausea are more common
- The effectiveness is slightly less than the above choices.
- Needs to be inserted within 5 days of unprotected intercourse
- Then provides highly effective, long lasting contraception
- The logistics of arranging an IUD insertion in so short a time frame can be difficult
- Can reduce the chance of pregnancy by 95%
If you use Plan B, ella, or a birth control pill regimen
- Your next period may come at a different time, often earlier than expected. If your period is more than 1 week late, you should run a pregnancy test.
- Use an effective form of birth control, such as condoms, until your next period. Emergency contraception is NOT designed to be used multiple times in the same menstrual cycle.
- Consult with your health care provider about the many options for effective contraception you can choose from
Call 855-5002 for details or to ask questions.