Home Health 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 informed to Camille Noe Pagán

Lots of people assume emergency contraception (EC) is an abortion tablet, however that’s not the way it works. Should you’re already pregnant and you employ it, it gained’t finish your being pregnant. EC solely reduces your odds of getting pregnant when 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.) Should 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 choice accessible. It’s the Paragard copper IUD (intrauterine system). An IUD is a T-shaped system that’s put into your uterus via your cervix. Sperm don’t like copper, in order that they don’t get previous Paragard to succeed in and fertilize an egg.

The factor about EC is that the earlier you employ it, the higher it really works. That’s very true when you’re near ovulation in your menstrual cycle. Most girls aren’t precisely positive once they ovulate, which is one more reason why it’s greatest to take emergency contraception as quickly as potential after you’ve had unprotected intercourse. Should 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 few 5-day span. If it’s been longer than 5 days, they’re a lot much less more likely to work.

Ella requires a prescription, and also you’ll want a physician 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 circumstances, it’s a must to ask a pharmacist for it.


It’s all the time 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 aid you. For instance, when you’re overweight or are tall with a big body, ella is extra more likely to work than Plan B. However whenever you name your physician’s workplace, ensure you inform them you’re calling about EC, in order that they put you in contact together with your physician instantly.

That mentioned, when 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 ladies of all ages. The one actual purpose to not use it might be when you’re already pregnant or when you’ve had a unfavorable response to EC previously.

The most typical unwanted effects to hormonal EC are nausea and vomiting, whereas an IUD may 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 could be heavier or lighter than it usually is. It could be later than normal, too, which could make you assume you’re pregnant. Should you’re nervous, contemplate taking a pregnancy test. And belief your intestine: If one thing appears improper, reminiscent of actually heavy bleeding, name your physician or go to the emergency room.

Emergency contraception is for emergencies. It’s not a substitute for birth control. Sadly, medical doctors 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 more likely to get pregnant when you depend on EC. Most EC is barely 75% efficient, whereas most contraception is nearer to 90% to 98% efficient.

Contraception tends to be cheaper than EC, too. The worth for EC can range, relying on the place you reside. Some over-the-counter EC can run as little as $10 a tablet. However different varieties can price as much as $90 per tablet. Most health insurance covers the complete price of an IUD. The underside line is, when you don’t need to get pregnant, you must have a dependable type of contraception that you simply use constantly. Accidents occur, and emergency contraception is a superb choice for these. Nevertheless 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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