"Oops! Forgot Contraception? Here's What to Do Next for Peace of Mind"

The Morning After Pill Prevents Pregnancy

Emergency contraception (EC) can help protect you against pregnancy if taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex. Both Plan B and ella (levonorgestrel) are widely available at pharmacies and stores such as Target or CVS, for over-the-counter purchase.

Ella requires a valid prescription and may be more effective if you weigh over 155 pounds. Ask your college health center if they offer this product and discounts for low-income students.

Oops! Forgot Contraception? Here’s What to Do Next for Peace of Mind

At least once in your life, chances are high that you may have forgotten to use birth control at its appointed time and date. To reduce the chances of unprotected sex or birth control failure, it is crucial that birth control be taken at the same time each day at approximately the same time of day. Doing this helps ensure effective prevention with less chance of unintended sex occurring between doses.

All plans can go wrong at times; even with your best intentions in place, sometimes things don’t work out the way we anticipate – for instance if you forget to pick up birth control pills at the store or your condom breaks; replacing your birth control patch; missing an injection session of Depo; or your partner not wearing or inserting their diaphragm correctly may not go according to plan.

If your birth control fails or you engage in unprotected sexual activity, emergency contraception (commonly referred to as the morning after pill) may be your best way to stop pregnancy. Available over-the-counter in most pharmacies without the need for a valid prescription or visit to your physician, emergency contraception works by inhibiting two hormones that trigger ovulation while altering cervical mucus to make sperm difficult for sperm to penetrate it and get fertilized eggs.

Plan B is most effective if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. It can be taken by women of any age, as well as providing access to contraception for women who travel frequently or those incarcerated – you can purchase this method at some Planned Parenthood health centers that may offer it free with most insurance or Medicaid policies.

If you’re worried about forgetting to take your daily pill, try fitting it into something else in your routine such as brushing your teeth. Keep a pill strip in your medicine cabinet or place one on your nightstand as a visual reminder, or set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself. Just don’t skip any days because that won’t provide reliable protection!

Get Your Pills Right Away

Emergency contraception (EC) pills come in various varieties and the one you choose depends on where you are in your cycle. Progestin-only ECs like Plan B One-Step and Next Choice tend to work best if taken within three days of unprotected sexual encounter; they can still provide moderate protection for up to five days post-use.

Ulipristal (Ella(r)), another EC pill, works to prevent pregnancy by blocking the release of eggs from your ovary and stopping sperm from fertilizing them. Ulipristal works best when taken within five days after unprotected sexual contact; for this reason it has a longer window of effectiveness than most EC drugs and can even be purchased over-the-counter at most drugstores without prior prescription or visit to healthcare provider.

As you choose an EC pill, keep in mind that it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Always have another form of birth control on hand – such as condoms and spermicidal foam – should an unexpected STI arise.

If your family history includes blood clots in your legs or lungs, your risk for side effects from morning-after pills could increase significantly. Furthermore, those living with chronic illnesses like diabetes or lupus could also increase their odds for adverse reactions; be sure to inform your OB-GYN about this risk when considering morning-after pill usage.

Be mindful that taking the morning-after pill may alter your cycle, so it is best to refrain from having sexual relations while on it. Your period may come earlier or later than expected and could become lighter or heavier than expected; or spotting may occur between periods. If after taking it your period does not return after several days you should undergo a pregnancy test in order to rule out potential pregnancies.

Planned Parenthood provides affordable and accessible healthcare solutions regardless of whether or not you have health insurance. Most Planned Parenthood health centers accept Medicaid or other government programs designed to assist low-income patients pay for care.

Keep Your Pills in Your Medicine Cabinet

As an insurance policy to your regular birth control method, emergency contraception (EC) pills should always be kept in your medicine cabinet as a backup plan. They can help prevent pregnancy in case you miss your pills, your patch falls off, you forget to replace your Nuvaring, or you receive your Depo injection late.

Your choice of emergency contraception depends on your particular circumstances: Progestin-only Plan B should be taken within 72 hours after unprotected sexual contact; Next Choice and Ella can both be used up to five days post-intimation of unprotected sexuality for best results; any longer and its effectiveness reduces. EC can affect when your period starts, so use a pregnancy test after taking this medication and be aware that your period may start sooner or lighter than usual.

Plan B and Next Choice can be purchased without needing a valid prescription from your healthcare provider or pharmacy, in health and beauty stores, supermarkets and convenience stores. If you have health insurance or Medicaid, however, your nurse or doctor may issue you a valid prescription so it will be covered by these policies. Planned Parenthood health centers or family planning clinics often offer these contraceptives free or at an extremely discounted cost – you could even find free or low cost contraception options there too.

The new ella IUD is another form of emergency contraception (EC) that requires visiting your health care provider for installation and removal. Your provider can insert it up to five days post-unprotected sex; though they may recommend waiting longer due to safety considerations. If you have health insurance, speak with your provider about getting this IUD at no cost or at reduced price; alternatively Planned Parenthood offers IUDs at reduced or no costs as well, providing further emergency planning advice through their Be Prepared and Stay Safe webpages.

Take Your Pills Right After Unprotected Sex

The morning-after pill (MCP) is an emergency contraceptive (EC) designed to effectively prevent 7 out of 8 pregnancies when taken within 72 hours (3 days) after one incident of unprotected sexual contact or birth control failure. Although most effective when taken within three days after unprotected sexual encounter or failure, its effectiveness will decrease with delay; up to five days post unprotected sexual activity still lower pregnancy risks; though its effects will diminish over time.

This medication works by temporarily postponing ovulation, so an egg doesn’t come into contact with sperm and become fertilized. Furthermore, it makes sperm attach to uterine walls less easily so fertilized eggs may not implant successfully.

Plan B One-Step and other medications containing levonorgestrel may be taken over-the-counter or through telemedicine such as Nurx and Ella, though these should not be seen as birth control pills – nor will they protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs or HPV). Women who have been sexually assaulted should continue using birth control methods as primary forms of emergency contraception for maximum protection.

If you already take an oral contraceptive with both estrogen and progestin, known as the Yuzpe method, this pill can serve as emergency contraception right away. Simply take two doses 12 hours apart of your regular birth control pill as emergency contraception to reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy by 74% if started within 72 hours after unprotected sexual encounter.

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) offer another long-acting form of emergency contraception that’s slightly more permanent. IUDs may provide birth control for 6-10 years when properly installed by healthcare provider.

At Planned Parenthood and other community clinics, information on IUDs is widely available. You may even be eligible for free or reduced cost IUDs through telemedicine providers; always speak to your health care provider first to assess which option best meets your needs.

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