If you think you are at risk for getting pregnant because you misused your regular birth control method or didn’t use any, you might consider using emergency contraception (EC).
There are 2 ways to prevent pregnancy after you have unprotected sex:
Get a Paragard IUD within 120 hours (5 days) after having unprotected sex.
Take an emergency contraceptive pill (AKA the morning-after pill) within 120 hours (5 days) after having unprotected sex. There are two kinds of emergency contraceptive pills: levonorgestrel (brand names: Plan B and Next Choice) and ulipristal acetate (brand name: Ella). Levonogestrel EC (like Plan B) is available at most pharmacies in North Carolina without a prescription. Check with your pharmacist if you would like to use this medication. It works best when you take it within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex, but the sooner you take it, the better it works.
You need a prescription from a doctor to get Ella emergency contraception.You can take Ella up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex, and it works just as well on day 5 as it does on day 1. Ella is generally the most effective type of morning-after pill, but if you’re taking EC because you made a mistake with your hormonal birth control, Plan B or the copper IUD are better options for you than Ella.
When To Use Emergency Contraception Options
You can use emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy if:
- You didn’t use a condom or other birth control method when you had vaginal sex
- You messed up your regular birth control (forgot to take your birth control pills, change your patch or ring, or get your shot on time) and had vaginal sex
- Your condom broke or slipped off after ejaculation (cumming)
- Your partner didn’t pull out in time
- You were forced to have unprotected vaginal sex
Contact Raleigh Gynecology Today
If you use emergency contraception correctly after you have unprotected sex, it makes it much less likely that you’ll get pregnant. But don’t use it regularly as your only protection from pregnancy, because it’s not as effective as regular, non-emergency birth control methods (like the IUD, pill, or condoms). Talk with your doctor at Raleigh Gynecology & Wellness about finding an effective contraception that will work well for you in the future.