The Basics Behind an Emergency Contraceptive

If you've had unprotected sex and are concerned about an unwanted pregnancy, you may be interested in talking to your doctor about the emergency contraceptive morning-after pill. This pill prevents an unwanted pregnancy because the hormones delivered intercept the pregnancy depending on what point in your fertility cycle you are at. If you have unprotected sex at the beginning of your cycle, the emergency contraception pill will prevent ovulation. If you are in the middle of your cycle, the pill will work by blocking hormones needed for actual fertilization of the egg, should it have already been released. If you are in the later part of your cycle, it will change the lining of your uterus, making it an unwelcome environment for fertilizing an egg.

Emergency contraceptives can be taken within five days of intercourse. That gives you 120 hours to make the decision you need to get this form of birth control. It usually comes in the form of two pills. The first should be taken within the first 120 hours after unprotected intercourse and the second pill should be taken 12 hours after the first. This process charges your system with two bursts of hormones.

Because many women feel nauseated or actually vomit after taking the emergency contraceptive pill, you will want to take an anti-nausea medication (such a Dramamine) before you take each dose. Give yourself at least 30 minutes after you take the anti-nausea medication before you take the emergency contraceptive pill, and eat food (something like crackers, toast or pancakes) with the pill.

If you are on oral contraceptives but had skipped a few pills, your doctor may instruct you to take a larger than normal number of oral contraceptive pills to act like an emergency contraceptive. Do not try to figure out how many pills to take without consulting your doctor. Each kind of oral contraceptive is different, and only your doctor will know which pills and how many pills you can safely take.

It can be terrifying to imagine you are at risk of an unwanted pregnancy, but you need to be safe as you approach the situation. Take the time to talk to a nurse, doctor or clinic before you self-prescribe using birth control pills.

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