Emergency Contraception - Oakdale ObGyn
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Services Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception is a hormonal birth control pill that can prevent pregnancy, if used within 72 hours of having unprotected sex or failure of a barrier method, such as a broken condom. If used correctly and started early, emergency contraception is 75 to 95% effective.

The most common form of emergency contraception contains progestin and sometimes estrogen, which are hormones similar to a woman’s natural hormones.

This method of contraception works differently depending on where you were in your menstrual cycle when you had sex. When taken before ovulation, the pill may inhibit or delay an egg from being released from the ovary. The pill may also prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus, or keep the egg and sperm from uniting.

Types of Emergency Contraception

There are several types of emergency contraception:

  • “Plan B” is a progestin-only product and available at your local pharmacy, if you are older than 18. The kit contains 2 pills taken 12 hours apart. If you are under 18, you will need a prescription from your provider.
  • Some common birth control pills can be used for emergency contraception. Call our clinic to find out if this is an option for you.
  • An intrauterine device (IUD) is another option. This is inserted in the uterus and requires an office visit.

What To Expect

If you have had unprotected sex or experienced a failure in a barrier method, call our clinic at 763-587-7000 and speak with your provider. We’ll talk with you about your options and help you determine which is best for you. This may require a visit to your pharmacy or a clinic appointment.

After using emergency contraception, your next menstrual period will usually start within 21 days. Your period may be heavier or lighter than usual and may arrive a few days earlier or later than usual. If your period does not start within 21 days, do a home pregnancy test or contact your provider.

Side Effects

Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, breast tenderness, heavier or lighter menstrual bleeding, abdominal pain, headaches, fatigue, and dizziness. These symptoms usually go away within one or two days after taking the second emergency contraception dose. Vomiting three or more hours after taking emergency contraception will not decrease its effectiveness.

If you vomit within one hour of taking emergency contraception, contact Oakdale ObGyn or the on-call provider, if it is after clinic hours. If taking an anti-nausea pill, it should be taken an hour before the first dose of emergency contraception.

Using emergency contraception is generally safe. A particular risk is failure. Reasons for failure include:

  • You are already pregnant. If you are already pregnant, emergency contraception is not effective. There is no evidence emergency contraception is harmful to the fetus if you do get pregnant.
  • Too much time has elapsed between unprotected sex and taking emergency contraception (more than 72 hours). Research shows this method is useful within 5 days of taking the pill.
  • Cost: your health insurance may not cover emergency contraception. The cost of emergency contraception depends on the type of emergency contraception you are given. The cost may vary from $25-$50.
  • Age: if you are age 18 or older, you may purchase Plan B at a pharmacy without a prescription. If you are under age 18, you need a prescription from your health care provider.
  • How does emergency contraception work?
  • Is this an option for me?
  • What are the side effects?
  • Is this covered by insurance?
  • Do I need a prescription?
Understanding Risks

Using emergency contraception is generally safe. A particular risk is failure. Reasons for failure include:

  • You are already pregnant. If you are already pregnant, emergency contraception is not effective. There is no evidence emergency contraception is harmful to the fetus if you do get pregnant.
  • Too much time has elapsed between unprotected sex and taking emergency contraception (more than 72 hours). Research shows this method is useful within 5 days of taking the pill.
Good to Know
  • Cost: your health insurance may not cover emergency contraception. The cost of emergency contraception depends on the type of emergency contraception you are given. The cost may vary from $25-$50.
  • Age: if you are age 18 or older, you may purchase Plan B at a pharmacy without a prescription. If you are under age 18, you need a prescription from your health care provider.
Questions to Ask Your Provider
  • How does emergency contraception work?
  • Is this an option for me?
  • What are the side effects?
  • Is this covered by insurance?
  • Do I need a prescription?

Our team is committed to helping you be and stay healthy.
Call 763-587-7000 or book online today.

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