Emergency Contraception

July 31, 2022 by Anne Kyle, RN

Everyone has heard of the “Morning-After Pill,” but there are actually a few options to prevent an unplanned pregnancy following unprotected intercourse or a contraception failure.

  • PlanB One-Step is the most widely used pill. It delays ovulation which prevents sperm from coming into contact with an egg. It is not an abortion pill and will not affect an established pregnancy. It can be taken up to 5 days after intercourse, but should be taken as soon as possible. PlanB, if taken within 5 days, is 95% effective in preventing pregnancy. Plan B works best in women under 165 pounds. It can be purchased over-the-counter without a prescription but some insurance plans do cover it. We can send a prescription to your pharmacy without an appointment. Send a message through the Patient Portal if you require a prescription. You may experience some unexpected bleeding after taking PlanB, but that is normal.
  • Ella (ulipristal) is also an emergency contraception pill that can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse and has the added benefit of making it more difficult for an egg to attach to the uterine wall. It is more effective than Plan B if you have to take it days 3-5 after unprotected intercourse and works better in women over 165 pounds. It is only available by prescription, which we can write without an appointment. Send a message through the Patient Portal if you require a prescription. You may experience some unexpected bleeding after taking Ella, but that is normal.
  • The most effective form of emergency contraception is to insert the copper IUD (Paragard) within 5 days of unprotected intercourse. This has the added benefit of providing birth control for up to 10 years. The Paragard IUD requires approval from your insurance so contact them right away if this is the emergency contraception you desire.

All of these methods are safe and have been approved by the FDA. None of the emergency contraception options affect future fertility or the ability to carry a healthy pregnancy in the future.

*PlanB and Ella are less effective in women taking Tegretol and Topamax. Contact our office right away to discuss the Paragard should you need emergency contraception and are taking these medications.

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