Video Q & A:

The Pill & EC

Question:

What is emergency contraception?

Expert:   Isabel Blumberg, MD, Board Certified Obstetrician/Gynecologist »

If the condom slips or you forgot to use birth control, you should turn to the morning after pill, also known as emergency contraception. How does the morning after pill work? Watch this to learn!

Transcript: You’re having sex with your partner, and all of a sudden, the diaphragm has slipped, he accidentally came inside of you, or in the heat of the moment you didn’t use birth control at all! So now what? This would be a situation that calls for birth control known as Emergency Contraception, or the Morning After Pill. And as long as you’re over 16 anyone can get it at most pharmacies or clinics, usually WITHOUT a prescription. Emergency contraception ISN’T an abortion pill. It works a little like standard birth control pills, but has a HIGHER dose of the hormone, formulated to prevent ovulation from happening. Even if that DOESN’T work and somehow sperm and egg manage to unite, progestin ALSO thins a woman’s uterus lining to keep a fertilized egg from implanting. Over-the-counter varieties of the Morning-After Pill prevent pregnancy 89 PERCENT of the time if taken within 72 HOURS of unprotected intercourse. BUT, the sooner you swallow that little pill, the more effective it can be. If you’ve waited LONGER than 72 hours, there’s a prescription brand that is FDA approved to be taken within FIVE DAYS of unprotected intercourse, but is MOST effective when taken as soon as possible. Depending on which type you’ve purchased, you’ll take ONE OR TWO pills exactly 12 HOURS apart. Be sure to read the instructions to know exactly what to do, and ask the pharmacist if you’re unsure. After taking the pill, you MIGHT have minor side effects such as irregular bleeding, nausea, vomiting and headaches and your next period could be early or late. Even though you don’t NEED your doctor to get the morning after pill, it’s always a good idea to let your doctor know you’re in this situation. To help minimize your need for emergency contraception, it’s always a good idea to use a primary form of birth control, like a condom, every single time you have sex. More »

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