FAQs on Emergency Contraception

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Last Updated: Jun 17, 2019

Unfortunately, birth control is not 100% effective. You could miss a dose, or you could use a medication or an herbal supplement that interferes with your regular method.

With emergency contraception (EC), you’ll always have a backup plan. The added protection will provide you with additional peace of mind as well. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about emergency contraception.

How Many Types of EC Are There?

There are several kinds of emergency contraception. Plan B One-Step is a pill that contains the progestin levonorgestrel. It works by stopping or delaying ovulation, and it won’t make your primary birth control method less effective.

It’s available to anyone over the counter, it’s inexpensive, and it’s easy to order online. There’s a generic version called My Way that has the same drug as well.

You can also choose Ella, a prescription nonhormonal pill that contains ulipristal acetate, a progesterone receptor modulator that blocks the effects of the hormones needed for fertility.

A Paraguard copper intrauterine device (IUD) is inserted by a doctor. It’s also nonhormonal, and it works by releasing copper ions that are toxic to sperm, keeping them from reaching the egg and fertilizing it.

When Is It Effective?

Plan B One-Step and My Way are most effective when you use them within 24 hours of unprotected sexual activity[1]. However, you can use them successfully for up to 72 hours or three days later.

Ella and the Paraguard IUD both work well for up to five days after sex. According to Obstetrics and Gynecology International, the copper IUD is over 99.9% effective, and it can keep working for up to 12 years.

What Are the Possible Side Effects?

Some people are allergic to levonorgestrel, the drug in Plan B One-Step and My Way. Common side effects include nausea, headaches, fatigue, and dizziness, but they usually disappear quickly.

Some herbal supplements and medications can keep these drugs from working well. Since it prevents your body from responding to some hormones, Ella could temporarily reduce the effectiveness of hormonal birth control. You should use a barrier method such as a condom for five days after you use Ella.
Plan B One-Step, My Way, and Ella could temporarily make your period less regular. It should return to normal within a month, but using these contraceptive methods as your primary form of birth control and taking them often could make your cycle unpredictable.

Finally, the Paraguard copper IUD can cause cramping and heavy periods for three to six months while you become accustomed to it.

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Is Home Delivery Available?

You’ll have to visit a doctor’s office to get the IUD, but home delivery is available for other forms of emergency contraception. You can visit Nurx to speak to a doctor online and decide which type of EC is best for you. You can get a prescription for Ella and have it, Plan B One-Step, My Way, or another EC delivered right to your door.

Emergency contraception is safe and effective[2]. You can use it to stay protected from pregnancy even after missing a dose of your regular birth control or having unprotected sex. Most types of EC are inexpensive and easy to use.




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