Home Health What a Physician Needs You to Know About Emergency Contraception

What a Physician Needs You to Know About Emergency Contraception

What a Physician Needs You to Know About Emergency Contraception

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

Lots of people assume emergency contraception (EC) is an abortion tablet, however that’s not the way it works. In case you’re already pregnant and you utilize it, it gained’t finish your being pregnant. EC solely reduces your odds of getting pregnant for those who’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 case 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 out there. It’s the Paragard copper IUD (intrauterine gadget). An IUD is a T-shaped gadget that’s put into your uterus by 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 utilize it, the higher it really works. That’s very true for those who’re near ovulation in your menstrual cycle. Most ladies aren’t precisely certain once they ovulate, which is another excuse why it’s finest to take emergency contraception as quickly as doable after you’ve had unprotected intercourse. In case you do know you’ve simply ovulated or are about to, then ella and Paragard are more practical than different types of EC. Ella and Paragard are additionally more practical 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 out there 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, 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 could have particular recommendation that may show you how to. For instance, for those who’re overweight or are tall with a big body, ella is extra more likely to work than Plan B. However while you name your physician’s workplace, be sure to inform them you’re calling about EC, in order that they put you in contact together with your physician straight away.

That stated, for those who’re on trip or it’s a vacation or weekend and your physician isn’t out there, don’t wait to take EC. The longer you wait, the upper your odds of getting pregnant. Plus, analysis reveals that EC is protected for ladies of all ages. The one actual purpose to not use it will be for those who’re already pregnant or for those who’ve had a unfavourable response to EC prior to now.

The most typical unwanted side effects to hormonal EC are nausea and vomiting, whereas an IUD could cause cramping and bleeding. You would possibly really feel slightly 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 regular, too, which could make you assume you’re pregnant. In case you’re apprehensive, contemplate taking a pregnancy test. And belief your intestine: If one thing appears improper, equivalent to 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, medical doctors do see sufferers who depend on EC to keep away from being pregnant as a result of they don’t wish to use, say, condoms. However you’re extra more likely to get pregnant for those who 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 fluctuate, relying on the place you reside. Some over-the-counter EC can run as little as $10 a tablet. However different sorts can value as much as $90 per tablet. Most health insurance covers the total value of an IUD. The underside line is, for those who don’t wish to get pregnant, you must have a dependable type of contraception that you just use constantly. Accidents occur, and emergency contraception is a good choice for these. But it surely’s not for on a regular basis use.



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

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