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

What a Physician Desires You to Know About Emergency Contraception

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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. If you happen to’re already pregnant and you employ it, it received’t finish your being pregnant. EC solely reduces your odds of getting pregnant in case 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.) If you happen to don’t launch an egg, then sperm can’t fertilize it. That forestalls being pregnant. However what many ladies don’t understand is that there’s a nonhormonal EC possibility 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 achieve and fertilize an egg.

The factor about EC is that the earlier you employ it, the higher it really works. That’s very true in case you’re near ovulation in your menstrual cycle. Most ladies aren’t precisely positive after 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. If you happen to 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 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 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 all the time 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 assist you to. For instance, in case 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, in order that they put you in contact together with your physician straight away.

That mentioned, in case 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 protected for ladies of all ages. The one actual cause to not use it might be in case you’re already pregnant or in case you’ve had a damaging response to EC previously.

The commonest uncomfortable side effects to hormonal EC are nausea and vomiting, whereas an IUD could cause cramping and bleeding. You would possibly really feel a bit of 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 traditional, too, which could make you assume you’re pregnant. If you happen to’re fearful, take into account taking a pregnancy test. And belief your intestine: If one thing appears mistaken, akin 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, docs 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 prone to get pregnant in case you depend on EC. Most EC is just 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 capsule. However different varieties can price as much as $90 per capsule. Most health insurance covers the complete price of an IUD. The underside line is, in case you don’t wish to get pregnant, you must have a dependable type of contraception that you simply use constantly. Accidents occur, and emergency contraception is a superb possibility 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; medical professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Columbia College Vagelos Faculty of Physicians and Surgeons, New York Metropolis.

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