Emergency contraception is sometimes confused with the abortion pill, but the two drugs are used for different purposes and work in different ways.
Often called the emergency contraceptive pill, it is a safe and effective method of birth control that can prevent pregnancy when used within five days of unprotected sex or a condom accident, although it works best when taken within the first three days.
It is not like the abortion pill, also called medical abortion or medical abortion, which is used to terminate a pregnancy without the need for surgery, not to prevent it.
“Emergency contraceptives do not cause an abortion and will not work if you are already pregnant,” explained Dr. Mira Shah, MD, medical director of Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic in New York.
How does the morning after pill work?
After sex, sperm can live inside a woman’s body for up to five days while waiting for an egg to arrive. If ovulation occurs during this time, the sperm can fertilize the egg, resulting in pregnancy. Emergency contraception temporarily prevents the release of an egg from the ovary.
“You might think it’s like pulling the emergency brake when you ovulate,” Shah said. News week. “Where you are on your period, and when you take emergency contraception after unprotected intercourse, can affect contraception.
“Emergency contraception will not work if your body has already begun to ovulate. Emergency contraception does not affect an existing pregnancy.”
Since pregnancy does not occur immediately after intercourse, it can be prevented if you act quickly.
“Because most people don’t know exactly when you’ll ovulate, it’s best to use emergency contraception as soon as possible, regardless of where you are in your menstrual cycle or whether or not you plan to ovulate,” Shah added.
Does every morning after pill work the same way?
In the United States, there are two main types of birth control pills, both of which work by temporarily preventing the release of an egg from the ovary:
- Medications based on levonorgestrel, sold under brands such as Plan B One-Step, Take Action, My Way, and AfterPill
- Ulipristal acetate, sold under the brand name Ella.
Levonorgestrel can be purchased without a prescription from most pharmacies and drug stores in the United States by people of any age. Plan B is the most popular of these pills. Instead, it should be prescribed by a healthcare practitioner.
“It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or nurse at your next checkup if you have any questions about emergency contraception,” Shah said. “There are many factors that go into choosing emergency contraception, including how long it has been since you had unprotected sex, your weight, if you are breastfeeding, and accessibility. You can also speak to a teacher on the text line for family planning or call the center health plan for local family planning.”
He added, “Since some emergency contraceptives, like Plan B, work best before you take them, it may be a good idea to take them before you need them. You can keep them in the medicine cabinet or on your bedside table and they will be there for you, just in case.”
How do abortion pills work?
The most effective and most researched medical abortion regimen in the United States includes two drugs, mifepristone and misoprostol, both of which require a prescription.
Pregnancies need high levels of the hormone progesterone. Mifepristone blocks the action of progesterone, preventing the development of pregnancy. It can be used up to the tenth week of pregnancy.
Meanwhile, misoprostol causes the cervix to soften and the uterus to contract. The Planned Parenthood website states, “This drug causes cramps and bleeding to empty the uterus. It’s a bit like a very difficult pre-conception period, and the process is very similar to an early miscarriage.”
Shah explained, “First I take mifepristone, which prevents pregnancy from developing. Some people feel sick or start to bleed after taking mifepristone, but it is not uncommon. Your doctor or nurse may also prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection. Therefore, take misoprostol immediately or 48 hours after taking the first pill: Your doctor or nurse will tell you how and when to take it.”
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