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Had Good Sex without contraception? SOS - Plan B

According to statistics only in United States alone emergency contraception could prevent 1.7 million unintended pregnancies and 800,000 abortions each year.

Emergency contraception(EC) is birth control that prevents pregnancy after sex. It is often called ‘the morning after pill’, ‘morning after contraception’ or ‘the day after pill’. But it doesn’t mean that you have to wait until the morning after.  And it doesn’t mean that it is two late to take a pill the day after tomorrow. Of course – the sooner – the better, but ECP is licensed for use up to 72 hours after sexual intercourse.

Emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) (or sometimes called Emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) is one the method of EC, the pill that contains much higher doses of hormones (estrogen and progestin, or only one of them) that ordinary pill has. It’s the most popular ECP. Also another kind of ECP is the pill without hormones at all (contains no estrogen and progestin) – Mifepristone – a synthetic steroid compound that is used as an abortifacient in first two months of pregnancy, and in smaller doses as an emergency contraceptive.

There are two types of emergency contraceptive pill (ECP or EHP):

Progestin-only emergency contraceptive pill.

The first is a contraceptive pill that containsa hormone called progestin (this type of contraception is very popular in United States and goes under the brand name Plan B). In other countries – its ‘progestin-only emergency pill’. This type is the most effective – gives you 89% that you would not get pregnant. You are also less likely to have side effects if you use these type for emergency contraception. Each pill contains 0.75mg of levonorgestrel.

Combined emergency contraceptive pill.

The second type of emergency contraceptive pill contains both progestin and estrogen. These pills give you 75 % of effectiveness and increase your chances to experience such side effects as nausea and vomiting. Each dose contains at least 100 mcg of estrogen and .50 mg of progestin

Both pills can be used up to 120 hours after sex (though the instructions give only 72 hours). If taken within first 24 hours it both pills give up to 95% of contraception effectiveness. One more comforting fact is that for every 100 women who use ECP only one will become pregnant.

Notwithstanding the fact that taking ECP is not an abortion (according to the medical science definition that defines the beginning of pregnancy as the successful implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus) and if it happens that you get pregnant after taking the pill your baby won’t be harm, still everyone should really consider the side effects and possible health risks.

Side effects of the ECP

Here are some common side effects: nausea and vomiting, breast tenderness, blood clot formation, ectopic pregnancy and infertility. Let’s point out the most likely to happen ones.

What to expect after ‘progestin-only emergency contraceptive pill’?

· Some women feel sick and throw up after taking this type of ECP, but not as bad as in case of the ‘combined ECP’. If vomiting bothers you a lot ask your doctor give you medication to help control sickness, and immediately call your doctor if you throw up right after taking ECP. Perhaps you would need another one pill (the same), for your body to fully absorb the pill. Commonly about one in four (23%) women who use progestin-only emergency contraceptive pills feels sick to her stomach. As for vomiting only one in 17 (6%) will throw up after taking these pills.

· After taking the pill your next periods may come sooner or later than normal. It’s ok. It is also ok if the behavior of your periods changes – they may be lighter or heavier, or longer.

· You might get a headache, feel tired or dizzy, have some lower abdominal pain, or find your breasts are more tender than usual. Everything will stop in day or two.

· Some women experience unexpected bleeding (caused by female hormones/hormone in pills). Also don’t worry, it should stop by the time you have your next periods.

What to expect after ‘combined emergency contraceptive pill’?

· You might feel yourself sick. Half of all women (51%) feel sick to their stomachs and about one in 4 (23%) throw up. It is much more than in case of the first type of ECP. To prevent nausea and vomiting, you can take the non-prescription anti-nausea medicine; taking two 25 mg tablets 1 hour before using combined ECP reduces the risk of nausea by 27% and vomiting by 64%, but this drug doubles your chances of feeling drowsy (to about 30%). Don’t forget to call your doctor if you throw up right after taking the pill. If it happened within 1 hour of taking a dose – take another one (the same one).

· Other side effects are also more common in case of ‘combined ECP’: headache, dizziness, some lower abdominal pain and tenderness in your breasts. Unexpected bleeding and changes in your menstrual cycle are also more common.

After taking ECP use another birth control method if you have sex any time before your next period starts. In case you do not have yourperiods in next 3 weeks get a pregnancy test just to make sure you're not pregnant.

Emergency pill works on the same principle as birth control pill: it keeps the egg from leaving the ovary, it keeps the sperm from meeting the egg (and fertilization) and it keeps the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus (the implantation). ECP doesn’t protect you from

Remember that emergency contraception pill is EMERGENCY way toward protecting you from undesired pregnancy. Use it if:

· You missed to take your birth control pill (especially in case you missed two or more)

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· You were forced to have sex (raped)

· He didn’t pull out in time (if you use withdrawal)

· The condom broke or came off

· You were late getting your shot

Consider taking ECP as a total exception, as it is really a major stress for female body. Of course you can throw up and empty your stomach after overdosing the sleeping pills, when you have a disaster in your personal life, but it is better to have harmony and inner peace in every life situations. The same with the emergency pill. It is better never to get into trouble. But in case of a SOS – you already know what to do.

Valentyna Ant.


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