Contraception: The “Morning After” Pill
Hopefully you will never be in a situation where you need to think about emergency contraception. But if you miss a pill, or the condom breaks, or you were raped, it is your best bet to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. While the copper IUD (brand name: Paragard) can also be used as emergency contraception, I am going to focus on the types of contraception I have not previously discussed.
There are several different brand names of emergency contraception, including ella, Next Choice, and the most commonly known, Plan B One Step. When someone uses the colloquial term “morning after pill” they are referring to one of these.
Next Choice and Plan B both work like an extra heavy dose of the birth control pill. Their active ingredient is progestin, which is the same hormone that is commonly found in the birth control pill. The other brand, ella, uses a different ingredient, called ulipristal acetate, but all of these work in the exact same way.
The morning after pills work to prevent a woman from ovulating, just like the regular birth control pill. If she doesn’t ovulate, then there is no chance of pregnancy. The ones containing progestin also thicken the cervical mucus, and prevent sperm from reaching the uterus. With all of these, the most common side effects are nausea and vomiting.
Through federal mandate, anyone over the age of 17 can get these pills over the counter at a pharmacy by asking for it. If you are 17 or under, it does require a prescription from a doctor.
There is a lot of misinformation out there about the morning after pills, specifically that they will cause an abortion. This is absolutely false. If you are pregnant, taking any of the morning after pills will not cause you to lose the pregnancy.
Friday’s post will be about the other forms of emergency contraception, including abortion.