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What Are My Options for Emergency Contraception?

What Are My Options for Emergency Contraception?

The condom broke, you didn’t use your birth control, your partner didn’t pull out in time — these are just a few of the reasons why women turn to emergency contraception. Not to mention, emergency contraception is important for women who were forced to have sex and who didn’t have protection in place.

Whatever your reasons, the ability to stop an unplanned pregnancy after intercourse is available here at Tahoe Women’s Care. Dr. Gary Willen and our team offer two approaches for this type of emergency birth control, which we explore here.

Emergency contraception in pill form

Often referred to as the morning-after pill, this form of contraception works by preventing or delaying ovulation to greatly reduce your chances of getting pregnant after you’ve had unprotected intercourse.

This form of emergency contraception is not to be confused with the abortion pill, which is used during early pregnancy. In fact, if you’re already pregnant, using a morning-after pill won’t affect the pregnancy in any way.

Instead, this pill prevents ovulation and/or fertilization, and it can be used for up to five days after you’ve had unprotected intercourse.

There are two different types of FDA-approved emergency contraception pills — one that uses ulipristal acetate (brand name Ella®) and others that rely on levonorgestrel, which you can get over the counter.

Both types of pills are more effective within three days of unprotected sex, but work for up to five. 

The downside to emergency contraception pills is that they don’t work as well for women who are carrying more pounds — a BMI of 30 or higher.

Emergency contraception in IUD form

The other way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex is with certain intrauterine devices (IUDs). An IUD is a tiny, T-shaped device that we insert into your uterus. The insertion is painless, and we do it right here in our office. 

At our practice, we offer Paragard®, which is a copper IUD that we can implant within five days of unprotected sex. This IUD offers an impressive 99.9% rate of efficacy for preventing pregnancy, making it the most effective emergency contraception available.

The reason why Paragard is so effective is that copper ions act as a repellent to sperm and also alters the reproductive environment, making it less hospitable for sperm. 

Another benefit of using Paragard for emergency contraception is that it goes on to offer up to 10 years of protection against pregnancy.

As for cons, this IUD may cause you to bleed a little more for the first six months, but your periods should return to normal after this time.

If you want to learn more about your options in emergency contraception as soon as possible, or you’d like to schedule an appointment, please contact our office in Carson City, Nevada.

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