I took the Morning After Pill, Could I be pregnant?
The Morning after Pill refers to a pill taken after unprotected intercourse has happened in order to prevent pregnancy. This is also known as emergency contraception. There are several types of emergency contraceptives, each with varying prices, availability, and effectiveness.
- Plan B One Step is one of the most common and readily available types of emergency contraception. It involves taking a pill that contains levonorgestrel, which is a hormone found in many types of birth control pills. Plan B contains a much larger amount of this hormone than would be found in regular birth control pills, but works in a similar, though less effective, way to prevent pregnancy. Plan B typically works by preventing the release of the egg from the ovary, but it is possible that it may also prevent fertilization of an egg that has already been released, or by preventing attachment of the embryo to the uterus. According to a review of the research, effectiveness of Plan B could be as low as 52%. Multiple factors can influence this, such as how quickly Plan B was taken, and on what day of your menstrual cycle you had unprotected intercourse. Additionally, there is some research indicating that a woman’s BMI (body mass index) may impact the effectiveness of Plan B.
- Ella is another emergency contraceptive drug, but it is less readily available as it requires a prescription from a medical provider. Ella contains ulipristal acetate and has a higher likelihood of effectiveness compared to Plan B, though it works in the same way. It is estimated to be 62-85% effective in preventing a pregnancy, depending on how quickly it was taken after unprotected intercourse.
- Copper IUD is not a drug you take but rather an intrauterine device that can be used as an emergency contraceptive as well as for the prevention of pregnancy over the long term. It can be inserted by a medical provider up to five days after unprotected intercourse to prevent pregnancy. It is much more effective than Plan B or Ella as an emergency contraceptive and can be left in place for 5 years or more to prevent pregnancy in the future. However, it can have a much higher cost and can lead to serious infection if the woman has a current chlamydia or gonorrhea infection.
Taking an emergency contraceptive pill can cause your period to be heavier or lighter, or start earlier or later than normal. If your period is more than a week late, give yourself peace of mind by knowing for sure if you are pregnant. Schedule your appointment for a free pregnancy test at The HOPE Center by calling 770-924-0864.