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What a Physician Desires You to Know About Emergency Contraception

What a Physician Desires You to Know About Emergency Contraception

By Scott G. Chudnoff, MD, as advised to Camille Noe Pagán

Lots of people assume emergency contraception (EC) is an abortion capsule, however that’s not the way it works. In the event you’re already pregnant and you utilize it, it gained’t finish your being pregnant. EC solely reduces your odds of getting pregnant in the event you’ve had unprotected sex or your birth control failed you over the previous a number of days.

Most types of emergency contraception comprise hormones that cease your ovary from releasing an egg. (Some examples of hormonal ECs are Plan B, Plan B One-Step, Take Motion, and ella.) In the event you don’t launch an egg, then sperm can’t fertilize it. That stops being pregnant. However what many ladies don’t notice is that there’s a nonhormonal EC possibility accessible. It’s the Paragard copper IUD (intrauterine machine). An IUD is a T-shaped machine that’s put into your uterus via your cervix. Sperm don’t like copper, so that they don’t get previous Paragard to achieve and fertilize an egg.

The factor about EC is that the earlier you utilize it, the higher it really works. That’s very true in the event you’re near ovulation in your menstrual cycle. Most girls aren’t precisely certain once they ovulate, which is one more reason why it’s finest to take emergency contraception as quickly as potential after you’ve had unprotected intercourse. In the event you do know you’ve simply ovulated or are about to, then ella and Paragard are simpler than different types of EC. Ella and Paragard are additionally simpler if it’s been greater than 3 days because you’ve had unprotected intercourse. However they actually work solely inside a couple of 5-day span. If it’s been longer than 5 days, they’re a lot much less prone to work.

Ella requires a prescription, and also you’ll want a health care provider to insert Paragard. However most EC is on the market over-the-counter. That doesn’t imply you’ll discover it sitting on the shelf on the pharmacy or grocery retailer, although. In lots of instances, you need to ask a pharmacist for it.


It’s at all times a good suggestion to talk together with your physician earlier than taking a brand new medication, together with emergency contraception. They may have particular recommendation that may allow you to. For instance, in the event you’re overweight or are tall with a big body, ella is extra prone to work than Plan B. However once you name your physician’s workplace, be sure to inform them you’re calling about EC, so that they put you in contact together with your physician immediately.

That mentioned, in the event you’re on trip or it’s a vacation or weekend and your physician isn’t accessible, don’t wait to take EC. The longer you wait, the upper your odds of getting pregnant. Plus, analysis exhibits that EC is secure for girls of all ages. The one actual motive to not use it could be in the event you’re already pregnant or in the event you’ve had a unfavorable response to EC up to now.

The commonest unwanted side effects to hormonal EC are nausea and vomiting, whereas an IUD could cause cramping and bleeding. You would possibly really feel a little bit uncomfortable for a day or two after taking it. That’s regular. So is irregular menstrual bleeding afterward. Your subsequent interval is likely to be heavier or lighter than it usually is. It is likely to be later than typical, too, which could make you assume you’re pregnant. In the event you’re apprehensive, take into account taking a pregnancy test. And belief your intestine: If one thing appears unsuitable, resembling actually heavy bleeding, name your physician or go to the emergency room.

Emergency contraception is for emergencies. It’s not a alternative for birth control. Sadly, docs do see sufferers who depend on EC to keep away from being pregnant as a result of they don’t need to use, say, condoms. However you’re extra prone to get pregnant in the event you depend on EC. Most EC is simply 75% efficient, whereas most contraception is nearer to 90% to 98% efficient.

Contraception tends to be inexpensive than EC, too. The value for EC can differ, relying on the place you reside. Some over-the-counter EC can run as little as $10 a capsule. However different varieties can price as much as $90 per capsule. Most health insurance covers the total price of an IUD. The underside line is, in the event you don’t need to get pregnant, it is best to have a dependable type of contraception that you simply use persistently. Accidents occur, and emergency contraception is a superb possibility for these. However it’s not for on a regular basis use.



Scott G. Chudnoff, MD, chair, Division of OB/GYN, Stamford Hospital, Stamford, CT; medical professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Columbia College Vagelos Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, New York Metropolis.

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