One of the best things about working in public health is that you learn so many things, and then you can share that information with other people. For instance, did you know that there is a pill that a female can take up to 72 hours after unprotected intercourse to stop her from getting pregnant? Seriously! Some people know it as emergency contraception, others know it as the morning after pill, or Plan B, whatever you call it, it works and more people should know about it!
There is a lot of confusion about it, so I want to provide answers to a few common questions.
- How does it work?
Once the woman takes the pill, the hormones in the pill affect her hormones by limiting ovulation. This means she typically does not release her egg, so that the sperm cannot meet it, and therefore fertilization (the process to develop a fetus) does not start occur. Also the pill can limit the ability of the sperm itself to meet the egg, by making the woman’s body less friendly for the sperm. She can take the pill up to five days after intercourse; however the sooner she takes the emergency contraception, the more likely it will work.
- Is it the same as abortion?
NOOO! Abortions happen after the sperm and egg have met, and have begun to grow and go into the process of meiosis, when cells grow to make the beginnings of a fetus. Since emergency contraception works before the sperm and egg meet, it cannot and will not cause an abortion. Emergency contraception does not affect a fertilized egg.
- Where can you get Emergency Contraception?
You can usually find the pill at clinics, doctor offices, sometimes in a drugstore. Check out our find a clinic button on the right side of the page, or this site also provides details about how to get the pills How’s it going to feel? Not that bad, really. Some have experienced an upset stomach, a headache for a little while, physical sensitivity and maybe once in a while some light spotting. These side effects tend to last for a day or two, but when you consider how little they are to the other stresses of an unplanned pregnancy, emergency contraception is a great alternative.
Both our website and the linked website offer more information about emergency contraception. I urge you to go read about it, and then let someone else know about one of medicine’s best kept secrets.