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The Facts about Emergency Contraceptive Pills

By HERWriter
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what you need to know about emergency contraceptive pills Lev Dolgachov/PhotoSpin

If you believe you've experienced birth control failure during intercourse and the man ejaculated in your vagina or vulva area, you might decide to use an emergency contraceptive pill (ECP).

The morning-after pill is an emergency postcoital contraceptive pill which may go by the brand name Plan B One-Step, or Next Choice.

An ECP is not an abortion pill. ECPs will not work if you are already pregnant.

Types of birth control failure include:

• Condom leakage, slippage or breakage

• Spermicide tablet not melting before sex

• Diaphragm or cervical cap tearing or slipping out of place

• IUD coming out

• Patch or vaginal ring being placed too late, or being removed too soon

• Missing two or three active birth control pills in a row (depending on pill brand)

• Being more than two weeks late getting your birth control shot

• Not using birth control during intercourse

It is best to take an ECP immediately following any birth control failure. Some ECPs consist of one pill which is generally taken within a 72-hour window after unprotected sex. Depending on the brand, your ECP may require you to take an additional pill.

The ECP is a high dosage of hormones like those found in birth control pills. Basically, the way the ECP works is by preventing the sperm from joining the egg or delaying the egg from leaving the ovary.

There may be some side effects from the ECP. Those side effects include, but are not limited to, the following:

• Nausea

• Vomiting

• Lower stomach cramps

• Irregular bleeding

• Fatigue

• Headache

• Dizziness

• Breast tenderness

If you are prone to nausea, you can take two Dramamine 30 minutes before you take the ECP, according to Womanshealth.gov. However, if you vomit after taking the ECP, you need to contact the pharmacist or your doctor immediately. If you cannot take estrogen or you are breastfeeding, you should take Plan B One-Step which is a progestin ECP.

After taking the ECP, you may get your period later or sooner than your original period date. Most women get their period approximately seven days after or before their period date.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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