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

A good deal of men and women assume emergency contraception (EC) is an abortion pill, but that is not how it will work. If you’re presently pregnant and you use it, it will not stop your being pregnant. EC only minimizes your odds of finding pregnant if you have had unprotected sex or your birth manage failed you over the previous various times.

Most kinds of emergency contraception contain hormones that quit your ovary from releasing an egg. (Some examples of hormonal ECs are Approach B, Approach B A single-Action, Acquire Action, and ella.) If you don’t release an egg, then sperm can not fertilize it. That prevents being pregnant. But what a lot of women don’t comprehend is that there’s a nonhormonal EC solution readily available. It’s the Paragard copper IUD (intrauterine gadget). An IUD is a T-formed gadget that is put into your uterus as a result of your cervix. Sperm don’t like copper, so they don’t get previous Paragard to reach and fertilize an egg.

The point about EC is that the quicker you use it, the greater it will work. That’s specifically correct if you’re shut to ovulation in your menstrual cycle. Most women are not exactly guaranteed when they ovulate, which is a further cause why it’s most effective to get emergency contraception as soon as doable right after you have had unprotected sex. If you do know you have just ovulated or are about to, then ella and Paragard are more helpful than other kinds of EC. Ella and Paragard are also more helpful if it’s been more than three times considering the fact that you have had unprotected sex. But they actually work only in about a 5-day span. If it’s been lengthier than 5 times, they are a great deal much less probably to work.

Ella needs a prescription, and you will will need a physician to insert Paragard. But most EC is readily available over the counter. That doesn’t suggest you will obtain it sitting down on the shelf at the pharmacy or grocery retail outlet, however. In a lot of conditions, you have to check with a pharmacist for it.


It’s generally a great strategy to speak with your physician in advance of having a new medicine, which include emergency contraception. They may possibly have particular guidance that can support you. For example, if you’re over weight or are tall with a substantial body, ella is more probably to work than Approach B. But when you contact your doctor’s place of work, make guaranteed you convey to them you’re calling about EC, so they put you in contact with your physician suitable away.

That reported, if you’re on family vacation or it’s a holiday break or weekend and your physician isn’t readily available, don’t hold out to get EC. The lengthier you hold out, the greater your odds of finding pregnant. Moreover, research demonstrates that EC is safe for women of all ages. The only genuine cause not to use it would be if you’re presently pregnant or if you have had a destructive response to EC in the previous.

The most widespread aspect outcomes to hormonal EC are nausea and vomiting, even though an IUD can induce cramping and bleeding. You may possibly feel a minimal not comfortable for a day or two right after having it. That’s ordinary. So is irregular menstrual bleeding afterward. Your following period of time may possibly be heavier or lighter than it ordinarily is. It may possibly be later on than common, also, which may possibly make you assume you’re pregnant. If you’re worried, look at having a being pregnant check. And trust your intestine: If a thing looks wrong, these types of as actually large bleeding, contact your physician or go to the emergency area.

Unexpected emergency contraception is for emergencies. It’s not a replacement for birth manage. Sadly, medical practitioners do see clients who count on EC to steer clear of being pregnant since they don’t want to use, say, condoms. But you’re more probably to get pregnant if you count on EC. Most EC is only seventy five% helpful, whereas most birth manage is nearer to 90% to 98% helpful.

Birth manage tends to be much less pricey than EC, also. The price for EC can fluctuate, depending on exactly where you live. Some over-the-counter EC can operate as very low as $ten a pill. But other varieties can price up to $90 for each pill. Most wellness insurance policies handles the whole price of an IUD. The base line is, if you don’t want to get pregnant, you ought to have a reputable kind of birth manage that you use persistently. Accidents come about, and emergency contraception is a fantastic solution for these. But it’s not for daily use.



Scott G. Chudnoff, MD, chair, Section of OB/GYN, Stamford Hospital, Stamford, CT medical professor of obstetrics and gynecology, Columbia University Vagelos School of Physicians and Surgeons, New York City.

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