If you’ve ever used an emergency contraceptive before, congrats—you’re one of the roughly 11% of women who have done so. Accidents happen all the time, so don’t be discouraged if your first plan falls through. An incredibly effective backup option is to simply take the morning-after pill.

What’s the Morning-After Pill?

The most popular type of emergency contraceptive is the Plan B One-Step, also known as the morning-after pill. If taken within 72 hours, it prevents pregnancy very effectively in the safest way possible. If taken within 24 hours, it’s about 95% effective, and after that, it is about 89%. The pill contains essentially the same hormone that birth control pills do, levonorgestrel, but in a higher and more concentrated dose.

Although it’s the safest way to avoid pregnancy after unprotected sex, the morning-after pill should not be used as regular birth control, so try to limit your use of a backup plan as much as possible. Your Plan A should work most of the time, but we understand that accidents happen. Like we mentioned before, it is an emergency contraceptive, so make sure to be protected during sex as much as possible, so you don’t have to take this route. Because pregnancy doesn’t occur right away, you can still prevent it up to three days after you have sex.

The morning-after pill works by using levonorgestrel to prevent a woman’s body from releasing an egg for longer than normal so that conception with a sperm cell does not occur. This emergency contraceptive works like a heightened birth control pill, not like an abortion. If you do try to use the morning-after pill as your alternative to birth control, it will not be as effective, so be aware of that.

Young woman inspecting a morning after pill as an emergency contraceptive.

Should I Use an Emergency Contraceptive?

This should be an easy question to answer for yourself, but in case you’re still confused, you should use an emergency contraceptive in the following cases: if you forget to take your birth control (such as pills, a ring, a patch, etc.), your partner did not pull out in time, you were forced to have unprotected vaginal sex, your partner’s condom broke or slipped off, or any other instance in which you had unprotected vaginal intercourse.

Millions of women have used forms of emergency contraception before, and there is little risk of complications associated with the morning-after pill. While there are many different brands of emergency contraceptives that come in a simple, single morning-after pill, Plan B was the first of these to be approved by the FDA for over-the counter use by the public. This is what’s great about this emergency contraceptive. If you want to remain discreet and keep this information private, the Plan B One-Step is available at most local drugstores, as well as other emergency contraceptive pills just like it.

Woman about to take a morning after pill with a glass of water.

The Morning-After Pill at Fox Medical Centers

At Fox Medical Centers, we strive to treat our patients with the utmost care and give them qualified, sound information on many different kinds of medical questions and concerns. If you’re still confused about the morning-after pill, you can stop by one of our offices, and we’d be happy to help you. You can make an appointment at any time through our website, and don’t hesitate to give us a call!

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