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GR8NESS expert Expert Reviewed
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What is Emergency Contraception & What Are My Options?

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Accidents happen, even in the bedroom. However, if an accident does happen, you aren’t left without options. If you aren’t ready for a baby yet, emergency contraceptives are available to anyone, of any age, to help prevent pregnancy.

When Might I Need Emergency Contraception?

If you had sex without birth control, the condom broke, or you forgot to take your birth control pill and aren’t trying to conceive, emergency contraception can help protect you. If your IUD unexpectedly comes out or you are late replacing it, emergency contraception can help then too.

Additionally, emergency contraception can help if your cervical cap comes off, you are late on getting your birth control shot, or your vaginal ring comes out.

Learn more about safe sex here.

What is Emergency Contraception?

Emergency contraception is a type of “back up” birth control, designed to prevent pregnancy when your first line of defense has failed. It is not intended to be used instead of birth control, but rather as an emergency option. It works by delaying or preventing ovulation, meaning that your body won’t release an egg to be fertilized.

What Are My Options?

There are currently two medications approved by the FDA for emergency contraception. The first is ella®, which is available by prescription only. Plan B One-Step® is the second form of emergency contraception that is available at most major pharmacies, no prescription required.

They are both pills, and it’s important to know which option is right for you. ella® can be taken within five days of having unprotected sex. Plan B One-Step® must be taken within 72 hours to be effective.

No matter which pill you take, the recommendation is the same. Please take it as soon as you possibly can. While the success rates of preventing pregnancy are high, it is still possible to conceive even after using emergency contraception.

How Can I Pay for Emergency Contraception?

There is a cost associated with both emergency contraception options. You can either choose to purchase the pill yourself (they typically cost between $40-$60) or seek care at a low-cost family planning clinic. You may be able to receive it at a lesser charge.

Your private insurance provider or Medicaid plan may also cover the cost of the pill. Give them a call beforehand to see.

Are There Side Effects?

Yes, there are side effects to be aware of before taking emergency contraception, though they are generally mild. Side effects can include headache, stomach ache or nausea, breast pain, dizziness, or feelings of fatigue. Symptoms typically subside within a few days.

Your next period may not follow your usual schedule. It may come early or late, and you may experience light spotting. None of these side effects are cause for concern.

There’s No Shame in Using Emergency Contraception

Don’t be embarrassed if you find yourself in need of emergency contraception. If you aren’t ready to have a baby and have an accident in the bedroom, it’s okay. You’re taking a good step in maintaining your sexual wellness.

Note: Emergency contraception will not harm an existing pregnancy, and there is still a chance that you may become pregnant. It does not prevent STDs.

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Anne
GR8NESS Writer
Anne is a GR8NESS Contributing Writer, covering mental health, self-development, body, health, and pet care. She believes that self-betterment comes from addressing all aspects of the mind, body, and soul. When she’s not writing, you will definitely find her giving her dog belly rubs and reading the first half of every book she buys.
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