If you had sex without birth control, there is a chance
that you could get pregnant. This is true even if you have not started having
periods yet or you are getting close to
menopause. You could also get pregnant if you used a
birth control method that is not very reliable or if you didn't use it the
By Cynthia HansonIt's the four-letter word no woman likes to utter. How to ask for what you
It wasn’t until Kathleen Hornstein realized that she couldn’t move her legs
that she finally broke down and asked for help. A 34-year-old Pilates
instructor and mom of two, Hornstein was pregnant with twins, and despite being
overextended and overtired, she had barely slowed down and prided herself on
being able to handle anything that came her way. Then, during her second
trimester, as she sat...
Using emergency contraception right away can prevent an
unwanted pregnancy and keep you from worrying while you wait for your next
period to start.
What are the types of emergency contraception?
There are two main types of emergency contraception: pills and the copper
intrauterine device (IUD). Most women choose pills
because they work well, don't cost a lot, and are usually easy to get. The IUD
works very well, but it has to be inserted by a doctor.
Emergency contraception pills: Pills used for emergency
contraception are sometimes called "morning-after pills." They can be used at
any time up to 5 days after unprotected sex, but the sooner, the better.
Another option is a medicine called ulipristal (for example, Ella) that affects the progesterone in your body.
Some birth control pills are also used. These often contain a combination of
the hormones estrogen and progestin. If you already take
birth control pills, you may be able to use the pills you have as emergency
contraception. Talk to your doctor or check the websites listed below for the
IUD: The copper IUD is a
small, T-shaped plastic device that is inserted into your uterus. The IUD is
wrapped in copper, which helps kill sperm. It can be placed up to 5 to 7 days
after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. (Note: The hormonal IUD, such as the Mirena, is not used
for emergency contraception.)
How does it work?
Emergency contraception pills
work by preventing ovulation, fertilization, or implantation.
Emergency contraception hormones may prevent fertilization by stopping
the ovary from releasing an egg (ovum). They also make the fallopian tubes less
likely to move an egg toward the uterus. Emergency contraception is also
thought to thin the lining of the uterus, or
endometrium. The thickened endometrium is where a
fertilized egg would normally implant and grow.