Emergency Contraception: 3 Things You Should Know

Emergency contraception is a term used to describe a pill you can use after having sexual intercourse that is designed to stop a pregnancy from occurring. This medication is often called the "morning after pill," and it is FDA approved. Here are three things to know about this medication before you decide to use it.

What is it?

There are numerous types of pills that are considered emergency contraception, but they all work in a similar way. The pills are designed to stop a pregnancy from occurring, and you must take them after having unprotected sex.  

This medication works by filling your body with hormones that make it nearly impossible for an egg to fertilize. This method of contraception is not the best option to use as a regular form of birth control, but it can be a good choice if you forget your contraception or if your contraception fails.

Is it effective?

This medication tends to work best if used within three days of having sexual intercourse, and it appears to be relatively effective. According to research, using emergency contraception can reduce your chances of getting pregnant by 88% to 95%, depending on how soon you take it after having intercourse.

There can be side effects with emergency contraception pills. Generally, these include vomiting, headache, and nausea. They will normally go away within a couple of days after taking the pill. You should also realize that the pills only help prevent pregnancies that have not yet occurred. If you are already pregnant, the pill will not terminate the pregnancy nor will it have any adverse effects on your pregnancy.

Where can you get it?

You can purchase emergency contraception at most pharmacies today. Pharmacies sometimes place these products in the family planning aisles; however, there are some pharmacies that keep these products behind the counter. If you cannot find emergency contraception in the aisle, ask the pharmacist if they have any. You will not need a prescription to get it, and most pharmacies usually do not even ask to see your ID when you ask for it. These pills cost around $40 to $50, and some health insurance plans cover some or all of the costs.

If you are interested in learning more about this medication or other forms of contraception, talk to a gynecologist, such as Naples OBGYN. A gynecologist can help you find the right solutions for your body, and he or she can answer any additional questions you may have about this.