When Plan A fails, there’s a Plan B (and then some)!
What is Emergency Contraception?
Emergency Contraception (sometimes called EC or the ‘morning after pill’) is a pill (or two depending on brand – Plan B, Next Choice, Ella) you can take up to 5 days AFTER sex in order to prevent pregnancy if you think your birth control failed, you didn’t use contraception (including condoms), or you were forced to have sex.
How does EC work?
Emergency contraceptive pill(s) prevent pregnancy by delaying or preventing ovulation. Remember, ovulation is when your ovaries release an egg and is the time you are most likely to get pregnant (usually the time between your periods). No egg = no pregnancy!
There is no evidence to suggest that EC has any effect if an egg has already been fertilized (meaning it does NOT cause an abortion and is NOT the same as the abortion pill).
How well does EC work?
This is a very good question. Honestly, it depends on the brand of EC. Here at NGHC we dispense Next Choice. According to Next Choice, it reduces your risk of pregnancy by 88%. However, that’s only if taken within 3 days of unprotected sex. It drops down to 50-60% if taken 5 days after unprotected sex. That means, the sooner you take EC after unprotected sex, the better it works. And no emergency contraceptive is as effective as using condoms or birth control correctly!
Where can I get EC?
We are lucky here in the state of California. EC is available over the counter at any pharmacy without a doctor’s prescription if you are 17 years old or older. It can range between $35 – $65 but is FREE if you have an active Family Pact card (the green card given to you from most reproductive health clinics).
If you are younger than 17 or you do not have an active Family Pact card, you can always see us here at New Gen (no appointment necessary for EC).
What else should I know about EC?
EC does NOT protect against STD’s or HIV. If that is a concern, please talk to us here at New Gen or your doc. Also, some women may experience nausea, headache, cramping, breast tenderness and/or changes in their menstrual cycle. But don’t let that scare you away. Not everyone experiences that and for those that do, it only lasts a day or two. And honestly, those possible side effects are way easier than dealing with an unplanned pregnancy.
BUT WAIT!!! THERE IS MORE! THERE IS SOMETHING MORE EFFECTIVE THE EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTIVE PILLS!!!
The Paragard IUD!!!!
The Paragard IUD (also called the copper IUD) is the MOST effective form of emergency contraception. It is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy within 5 days of unprotected sex. And better yet, it also acts as birth control that lasts up to 10 years. Seriously, how cool is that? EC AND birth control in one??? Want to know more about the Paragard? Click here or come into New Gen (p.s. you can get the Paragard IUD even if you don’t need it for EC).
For more information about the various brands of EC, including the Paragard, click here!
In happiness & health,
Reviewed by Kohar Der Simonian, MD