8 Things Women Should Know Before Taking Emergency Contraception

You can get the pills from your local pharmacist without a prescription. However, ella is one ECP that still does require a prescription, which means you may need a doctor visit.

You should call ahead to the pharmacy to make sure they have ECPs in stock before you go. Some ECPs are available for purchase online if you want to buy it ahead of time to keep on hand for emergency use but take care in ordering from a reputable pharmacy.

8 Things To Know Before Taking Emergency Contraception

• Call your regular doctor or nurse practitioner, local family planning clinic, student health center or urgent care center to find out if they provide emergency birth control pills.

• Call your local health department. There are state-appointed clinics that can provide family planning assistance at low to no cost.

• Contact a Family Planning Center. Clinics such as Planned Parenthood provide confidential care and services to young women and teens.

4) When should I take the ECP?

  The medication should be taken within 72 hours (three days) of having unprotected sex and according to dispensing instructions. Emergency contraception can even be taken up to five days after unprotected sex, but works best within the recommended 72 hours.

5) What are the side effects?

Unfortunately, there are quite a few possible side effects when taking this medication. Some side effects are, but not limited to:

• Nausea

• Vomiting

• Lower stomach cramps

• Irregular bleeding

• Fatigue

• Headache

• Dizziness

• Breast tenderness

6) Do I need to see a health care professional after I take it?

  You do not need to see the your doctor or gynecologist after you take the ECP unless you are worried about being pregnant or haven’t gotten your period in two to four weeks.

If you’ve thrown up after taking the pill, call your doctor or pharmacist. Your menstrual cycle will be irregular and unpredictable anywhere from two to three cycles, so keep that in mind.

7) Will it affect my chances of getting pregnant in the future?

No. It is very important that you understand that ECPs are not to be used as a regular form of birth control. If used in a true emergency, the ECPs will not affect your chances of conceiving in the future when a pregnancy is desirable. However, experts suggest that if used frequently, your periods will continue to be irregular.

8) How do I get more information about birth control and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)?

ECPs should not be used as a regular form of birth control and do not prevent STDs.

• You can talk with your doctor or gynecologist about ECPs, birth control methods and STDs.

• You can log on to WomensHealth.gov.

Deciding to have sexual intercourse is a big decision; one that shouldn’t be taken lightly or feel pressured into. Every time you have sex, you are in essence taking a risk of getting pregnant or contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

Be sure that you are being responsible and informed about all the risks associated with sexual intercourse before you make your decision to be sexually active.

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