Morning After Pill in Oakland

Are you searching for the morning after pill in Oakland, CA because you recently had unprotected intercourse or think you may be pregnant? Many women in search of the morning after pill have questions. Some women think the morning after pill and the abortion pill are the same. There are many misconceptions out there. Fortunately, the nurses at Support Circle’s Oakland medical clinic are knowledgeable and can answer your unique questions regarding emergency contraception, pregnancy and options.

The morning after pill is designed to be used as a form of emergency contraception taken prior to ovulation to prevent or delay the egg from releasing and to slow down the sperm to prevent fertilization with the egg. The manufacturers of name brand emergency contraception, including Plan B One Step and Ella, recommend use within three to five days, depending on the pill used. Both can be obtained at your local CVS pharmacy, Walgreens pharmacy, or Target pharmacy.  Unlike Plan B One Step, Ella requires a prescription. BUT, you may already be pregnant. And if you are, the morning after pill will not stop the pregnancy.

Don’t play a guessing game or a waiting game with your future when it is free and easy to find out if you are pregnant and ask questions about the morning after pill. You can have a confidential, in-person consultation with a registered nurse at Support Circle. Come in for a free lab grade pregnancy test. Our nurses can explain the differences between the morning after pill and the abortion pill. If you are pregnant, we can provide you with a free ultrasound. An ultrasound will determine if the pregnancy is viable, date the pregnancy and provide the pregnancy verification you need to obtain services regardless of your decision.

Learn the answers and know your options at Support Circle’s licensed medical clinic in Oakland. Our trained specialists are available to answer your questions and provide you with accurate information, at no cost to you. Know where you stand. Come to Support Circle for your free pregnancy test or ultrasound and receive medical information you need to make an informed decision about the morning after pill in Oakland.

Abortion Pill Near Me

When I realized I might be pregnant, I knew I couldn’t parent a child so my first thought was to find the abortion pill near me. I was still in college in the Bay Area and had my whole life ahead of me. I wanted to write and be a journalist. I wasn’t in a relationship and spent more time studying than dating.  I felt like I had missed the whole college experience because I spent most of it studying to maintain my scholarship and to get into graduate school at UC Berkeley. So, when my roommate invited me to a party at a neighboring college, I agreed.

I’ve always seen myself as a good, Christian girl. Needless to say, I surprised myself when I hooked up with a guy that was kind and talked to me all night.  When he asked for my number, I made one up so I wouldn’t be distracted from studying. The next day, I panicked and took the morning after pill. I figured I was safe because I took it, you know, “the morning after.” What I didn’t know was that the morning after pill works best if taken before ovulation begins. I was a few days too late for that.

Here I was, about to graduate, trying to study to keep my GPA and dealing with constant nausea because I was pregnant by a guy whose name I wasn’t even sure of and who couldn’t even reach me if he tried. I found myself searching for the abortion pill near me.

My journalist instincts kicked in. I began to research the morning after pill and the abortion pill. That’s when I learned that the morning after pill is more likely to work if taken before ovulation because it is designed to stop ovulation. While I knew the abortion pill requires a prescription, I learned that it is actually a two-drug regimen that begins in the doctor’s office or clinic and is completed at home. I also learned that it is referred to as a medical abortion and can only be performed on pregnancies less than 10 weeks, that a pregnancy verification is required before the drugs can be prescribed and that some of the side effects could be more than I bargained for. I was surprised to learn that I don’t just take the pill and be done. There is a follow up appointment required a few weeks later. The process was much more involved than I had anticipated.

I went to Support Circle to obtain a pregnancy verification for free. A pregnancy verification is completed with an ultrasound to confirm the viability and date the pregnancy. Viability means that it is an actual pregnancy and is in the uterus, not an ectopic (in the fallopian tubes) pregnancy. I learned that pregnancy dating is important because that’s what determines what options are available to me. The nurses were friendly and professional. They didn’t judge me for not knowing who the father was. I was so glad to learn that the visit was free. If, like me, you are Googling where to get the abortion pill near me, I highly recommend making an appointment with a Support Circle Medical Clinic for your pregnancy verification.

Finding Morning After Pill Near Me

Are you searching for the morning after pill near you because you have had unprotected sex and think you may be pregnant? Women in your situation often think the morning after pill and the abortion pill are the same thing. At Support Circle’s three Bay Area medical clinics, our nurses are knowledgeable and can answer many questions regarding emergency contraception and help determine if you are pregnant.

The morning after pill is not designed to be used as a regular form of birth control but as an alternate option or in an emergency situation such as if the condom broke, missed birth control pills, miscalculation of the fertile window, in the event of a sexual assault, etc.  This form of emergency contraception is designed to be taken as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse and prior to ovulation to prevent or delay the egg from releasing and to slow down the sperm to prevent fertilization with the egg.

There are several well-known brands of hormonal emergency contraception, including “Plan B One-Step,” available over the counter without a prescription and “Ella,” which requires a prescription. The failure rate increases the more time that lapses between intercourse and taking the drug. While the phrase “morning after” is casually used to refer to these drugs, the manufacturers recommend they be taken within three to five days after unprotected intercourse.

If you think you may be pregnant, learn fact from fiction. Come in for a free lab grade pregnancy test. Our nurses can explain the differences between the morning after pill and the abortion pill. You can have a confidential, in-person consultation with a registered nurse and receive answers to your unique questions. If you are pregnant, Support Circle can provide you with a free ultrasound to confirm and date your pregnancy. This will help you to know how far along the pregnancy is and know your options.

Support Circle has three licensed clinics in San Francisco, Oakland and Redwood City. Our trained professionals are available to answer your questions and provide you with accurate information. So, when searching for the “morning after pill near me,” schedule an appointment with Support Circle for help with the information you need to make an informed decision based on your unique situation and questions.

 

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HIV and Pregnancy

HIV and Pregnancy

From the early days of the community learning about HIV, there have been a lot of questions and misconceptions about HIV. There have also been many advancements in the understanding of HIV and pregnancy. To understand how HIV affects pregnant women and their unborn child, it is important to understand what HIV is and how it can be contracted.

So, what is HIV? HIV stands for “Human Immunodeficiency Virus.” Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that damages the immune system over time and is the virus that causes Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Our immune systems work on our behalf to keep us healthy and fight off infections. Many people with HIV do not know that they have HIV because they feel and appear healthy. They can infect others without even knowing it. While there is no known cure for HIV or AIDS, there are many treatments and trials that provide a better quality of life and, in some cases, extend the lives of those diagnosed with either HIV or AIDS.

Let’s talk about how you DON’T get HIV. You don’t get HIV from touching, hugging, or being around a person with HIV. You can’t get HIV from bug bites or mosquitos. You can’t get HIV from kissing unless one of you has an open sore or cut in/outside the mouth. You can’t get HIV from giving blood. HIV is not transmitted through saliva.

Now, how CAN you contract HIV? HIV is transmitted through blood and bodily fluids including semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk. Basically, there has to be a way for the HIV virus to exit the infected person and an entry for the HIV virus to enter your body. The three most common ways to contract HIV is through unprotected sexual intercourse, sharing needles, and from mother to infant.

How do I know if I have HIV? The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend that women who may become pregnant, or who are pregnant, have an HIV test as soon as possible. If you are already pregnant, you may request an HIV test at any time during your pregnancy, usually at the first prenatal appointment. The earlier, the better to reduce the chance of mother to baby transmission.

If you test HIV-negative and have unprotected sex or share needles, you should be tested again during the pregnancy. You should ask to be tested again in your third trimester as sometimes it takes time for the virus to be present in blood tests. It is a good idea to be tested because you could have been exposed to HIV through unprotected sex, without knowing it and even without your partner knowing it. If you share needles, you may also be at higher risk of contracting HIV so a repeat HIV test is recommended.

Will my baby have HIV if I am HIV positive? If you discover that you are HIV positive during pregnancy, meet with your healthcare provider to discuss treatment options. You should begin treatment immediately and MUST follow your recommended treatment protocol during pregnancy, labor, delivery, and breastfeeding (and beyond) to reduce the possibility of passing HIV on to the baby. It is possible to deliver a baby that is not HIV positive. The earlier you begin antiviral treatment, the better the chances that your baby will not be HIV positive. If you test HIV positive, your newborn MUST take an antiviral treatment protocol to reduce the baby’s chances of becoming infected with HIV.

Most women that are HIV positive have their babies delivered through caesarean section (C-section). However, some women that are HIV positive can have vaginal deliveries if they have a low viral load (low level or undetectable HIV in blood).

In resource-rich countries, such as the United States, women that are HIV positive are strongly advised to use baby formula to feed their infants. Baby formula is the safest feeding method for infants born to HIV positive mothers. However, if you do not have access to baby formula, sterile bottles and clean water daily, breastfeeding may be your only option. In this case, it is even more important for you to continue to take your treatment protocol daily and for your baby to take her treatment protocol as well. Even if the mother and baby are both on antiviral medications, there is still a chance of passing HIV on to the infant through breast milk.

Thanks to research, education, and improved treatments, many people with HIV live long, healthy lives. As with most illnesses, prevention, early detection and strict adherence to treatment protocols can lead to favorable outcomes. If you think you might have been exposed to HIV or would like to learn more about HIV and pregnancy, contact one of our Bay Area pregnancy clinics. Our caring and supportive nurses and patient advocates are here to answer your questions and address your concerns.

 

Links:

Pregnancy Symptoms

 

References:

  1. http://sfaf.org/hiv-info/basics/how-is-hiv-transmitted.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/
  1. http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/group/gender/pregnantwomen/
  1. https://www.avert.org/learn-share/hiv-fact-sheets/pregnancy

Image posed by model

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Is the Abortion Pill and the Morning After Pill the same?

Is the Abortion Pill and the Morning After Pill the same?

What is the “Abortion Pill?” Is the Abortion Pill and the “Morning After Pill” the same? The Abortion Pill and Morning After Pill are not the same medication and they each function very differently. This article is intended for informational purposes so that you can differentiate between the Morning After Pill and the Abortion Pill.

The Morning After Pill, also commonly known as Plan B, is a popular name for numerous brands of birth control pills that contain the hormone Levonorgestrel. These pills can be used to prevent ovulation and do not harm an existing pregnancy when taken as directed. In California, a prescription is not required to obtain birth control pills. To read more about the Morning After Pill, click here.

The Abortion Pill is a drug called Mifepristone, Mifeprex, or RU486 and is available by prescription only. Mifepristone, when used in combination with Misoprostol, disrupts an existing pregnancy (but not if the pregnancy is an ectopic pregnancy—a different procedure or medication will be needed). It is now approved for use up to 70 days (10 weeks) from a woman’s last menstrual period to terminate an early pregnancy. Mifepristone is obtained, with a doctor’s prescription only, at your local pharmacy such as Walgreens pharmacy, CVS pharmacy or Target pharmacy.

Disrupting an existing pregnancy is a two-part regimen when using these pills. Mifepristone, or Mifeprex, is an anti-progesterone that ends a pregnancy by blocking the uterine wall receptors to the hormone progesterone. This causes the lining of the uterine walls to shed like they do during a menstrual cycle. It also softens and dilates the cervix, thus facilitating abortion.

Misoprostol is used to help expel the pregnancy. Misoprostol is a prostaglandin that induces uterine contractions and softens and dilates the cervix. It is used approximately two days after taking Mifepristone to complete the abortion process. When used in combination with Mifepristone, abortion is complete approximately 97% of the time.

After taking the Mifepristone and Misoprostol regimen, it is common to experience pelvic cramping and vaginal bleeding and spotting, including the expelling of tissue and blood clots for an average of 9-16 days. It is also common to experience nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headaches, fever, chills, weakness, and diarrhea.

A follow-up visit 7-14 days after taking the abortion pill regimen is very important to ensure there is no tissue left behind and that the abortion occurred successfully. In the event Mifepristone has not worked, as determined by an ultrasound during the follow-up visit, a woman will discuss her options with her provider.

For women considering using the abortion pill but who would like to meet in person with a registered nurse or trained counselor to discuss personal questions, we recommend visiting one of our three Support Circle clinics in San Francisco, Oakland and Redwood City. All appointments are confidential and free.

Support Circle provides information about the abortion pill and morning after pill but does not prescribe or dispense these medications.

Links:

Morning After Pill – An Overview of Emergency Contraception

Plan B Emergency Contraceptive

Ella Emergency Contraceptive

Combination Pill Emergency Contraceptive

 

References:

  1. http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm111323.htm
  2. http://www.fda.gov/downloads/Drugs/DrugSafety/ucm088643.pdf
  3. http://www.rhtp.org/Abortion/mifepristone/default.asp
  4. http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/429755_3
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Combination Pill Emergency Contraceptive

Combination Pill – Emergency Contraceptive

What is the Combination Pill emergency contraceptive?

Combination Pill Emergency Contraceptive

Combination Pill Emergency Contraceptive

The “Morning After Pill” is a common name for the most popular type of emergency contraceptive. Emergency contraceptives or emergency birth control (EC) is used to reduce the chance of a woman getting pregnant after she has had sex without using birth control, during the fertile days while using natural family planning, or if the birth control method failed. While some EC methods may be taken as much as 3-5 days after unprotected sex, EC is most effective when taken as soon as possible (i.e. within a few hours).

The Combination Pill (CP) contains a combination of the hormones levonorgestrel (progestin) and ethinyl estradiol (estrogen) found in regular birth control pills. Certain brands of the birth control pill can be used as a CP for emergency contraception. When taken as a back-up oral contraceptive method, CP is to be used as soon as possible, but no more than five days (120 hours), after unprotected sex or contraception failure, to reduce the chance of pregnancy. Emergency contraceptives do not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.

In California, women of any age are legally able to purchase the Combination Pill at a pharmacy with a pharmacist consultation but without a prescription. However, as of July 2016, many of the larger pharmacies including CVS and Walgreens are not yet ready to begin this new process. Ask your local San Francisco Bay Area pharmacy if they are able to dispense CP without a prescription.

How does the Combination Pill work?

The Combination Pill is actually a number of regular birth control pills that are taken in multiple doses. The number of pills to take at one time and how many times they are to be taken depends on the type or brand of pill you have. Ask (or consult) with your doctor or a pharmacist to see how to use your combination pill for emergency contraception. When used for emergency contraception, Combination Pills are not as effective as progestin only pills such as Plan B One Step or Next Choice One Dose. Combination Pills are safe for almost any woman to use, even women who are not able to take the birth control pill on a regular basis.

The main function of levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol combined is to prevent or delay ovulation (i.e. to stop the egg from releasing), to block fertilization of the egg, or to prevent the egg from attaching (implantation) to the wall of the uterus (womb). The latest scientific research shows that FDA approved ECPs containing levonorgestrel or ulipristal acetate do not inhibit the implantation of a fertilized egg. ECPs stop pregnancy by keeping the egg from leaving the ovary or keeping the sperm from joining the egg. CP will not stop or harm an embryo that has already implanted. If you are already pregnant, emergency contraception will not work. It is not the abortion pill.

The Combination Pill as an emergency contraceptive works before ovulation occurs so if you have unprotected sex after ovulation, taking CP may not stop a pregnancy. If you have unprotected sex in the days or weeks after the use of CP, there is a risk of becoming pregnant.

Is the Combination Pill the same as the birth control pill?

The Combination Pill is the same as the birth control pill. However, it is a common misconception that you can simply double up your birth control pill. The truth is that you need to achieve a certain level of levenorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol to be considered an effective emergency contraceptive. Not all birth control pills can be used as EC. The brands of birth control pills that can be used as emergency contraceptive pills, due to the levels of levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol they contain, include: Altavera, Amethia, Camrese, Enpresse, Introvale, Jolessa, Lessina, Levora, Lutera, Nordette, Ogestrel, Portia, Quasense, Seasonale, Sronyx, Trivora, but there are many more brands. Your doctor can inform you of the exact dosage and at what frequency you will need to take the CP based on the brand and hormone levels in your birth control pill.

Are there side effects of the Combination Pill?

Side effects of the emergency contraceptive pill may include nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain or cramps, breast tenderness, headache, dizziness, and fatigue (tiredness). Your period may be delayed, come sooner, be heavier or lighter than normal. These side effects usually do not occur for more than a few days after taking the medication. If vomiting occurs within one hour of taking the pill, contact your doctor to see if you need to repeat the dose. If your period is more than one week late, you may be pregnant.

Important: If you become pregnant or experience severe abdominal pain and/or bleeding 3-5 weeks after taking the emergency contraceptive pill, you may have an ectopic pregnancy (the egg has implanted outside the uterus). Since ectopic pregnancies may be life threatening, you should seek immediate medical attention.

How do I know if I should be concerned?

You should be concerned about an unintended pregnancy if you had sex and your birth control failed (i.e. condom broke, diaphragm not inserted correctly, during the fertile days while using natural family planning, etc.), if you did not use contraception, or if you missed/forgot to take your birth control pill(s). If you had sex and think that you may be at risk of pregnancy, chat with our nurse online or schedule an appointment at one of our three Bay Area Support Circle clinics in Oakland, Redwood City, or San Francisco. We offer free pregnancy tests and same day appointments.

Support Circle provides information about emergency contraceptives but does not prescribe or dispense these medications.

Chat with a Nurse

Schedule an appointment

Morning After Pill

Ella – Emergency Contraceptive

Plan B – Emergency Contraceptive

 

References:

  1. http://ec.princeton.edu/info/combecp.html
  2. https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a601050.html

 

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Ella Emergency Contraceptive

Ella –  Emergency Contraceptive / Morning After Pill

What is Ella?

The “Morning After Pill” is a common name for the most popular type of emergency contraceptive. Emergency contraceptives or emergency birth control (EC) is used to reduce the chance of a woman becoming pregnant after she has had unprotected sex without using birth control, during the fertile days while using natural family planning, or if the birth control method failed. EC is most effective when taken as soon as possible (within a few hours). Emergency contraceptives will not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

Ella Emergency Contraceptive

Ella Emergency Contraceptive

Ella is a single dose emergency contraceptive pill (ECP). It is a back-up oral contraceptive method to be used as soon as possible, but no more than five days after unprotected sex or contraception failure, to reduce the chance of pregnancy. Currently, there is not a generic version for Ella in the United States.

The Ella brand pill requires a visit to a doctor to obtain a prescription. This is true even in California where women of any age are legally able to purchase emergency contraceptive pills at a pharmacy (i.e. CVS, Target, Walgreens, Rite-Aid) with a pharmacist consultation but without a prescription.

How does it work?

Ella contains a drug called ulipristal acetate (ulipristal). Ulipristal works by preventing ovulation (egg does not release) for five full days following unprotected sex. That’s important because sperm can live for five days in a woman’s reproductive tract. Ella’s ability to prevent or delay ovulation does not decrease over the five-day period following when you take it. Most emergency contraceptives are only approved for three-days use.

The latest scientific research shows that FDA approved ECPs containing levonorgestrel or ulipristal acetate do not inhibit the implantation of a fertilized egg. ECPs stop pregnancy by keeping the egg from leaving the ovary or keeping the sperm from joining the egg. Ella will not stop or harm an embryo that has already implanted. If you are already pregnant, it will not work. It is not the abortion pill.

Do not use Ella more than once in a menstrual cycle. Ella works before ovulation occurs so if you have unprotected sex after ovulation, taking Ella may not stop a pregnancy. If you have unprotected sex in the days or weeks after the use of Ella, there is a risk of becoming pregnant.

Are there side effects?

Side effects of Ella may include nausea, abdominal pain or cramps, headache and dizziness. Your period may be delayed, come sooner, be heavier or lighter than normal. If your period is more than one week late, you may be pregnant. You should not use Ella if you are breastfeeding.

Important: If you become pregnant or experience severe abdominal pain and/or bleeding 3-5 weeks after taking the emergency contraceptive pill, you may have an ectopic pregnancy (the egg has implanted outside the uterus). Since ectopic pregnancies may be life threatening, you should seek immediate medical attention.

How do I know if I should be concerned?

You should be concerned about an unintended pregnancy if you had sex and your birth control failed (i.e. condom broke, diaphragm not inserted correctly, during the fertile days while using natural family planning, etc.), if you did not use contraception, or if you missed/forgot to take your birth control pill(s). If you had sex and think that you may be at risk of pregnancy, chat with our nurse online or schedule an appointment at one of our three Bay Area Support Circle clinics in Oakland, Redwood City, and San Francisco. Support Circle offers free pregnancy tests and same day appointments.

 

Chat with a Nurse

Schedule an Appointment

Morning After Pill

Plan B Emergency Contraceptive

 

References:

  1. http://www.ellanow.com/
  2. http://ec.princeton.edu/info/ecp.html

 

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Plan B Emergency Contraceptive

Plan B –  Emergency Contraceptive / Morning After Pill

What is Plan B?

The “Morning After Pill” is a common name for the most popular type of emergency contraceptive. Emergency contraceptives or emergency birth control (EC) is used to reduce the chance of a woman getting pregnant after she has had sex without using birth control, during the fertile days while using natural family planning, or if the birth control method failed. While some EC methods may be taken as much as 3-5 days after unprotected sex, EC is most effective when taken as soon as possible (i.e. within a few hours).

Plan B Emergency Contraceptive

Plan B Emergency Contraceptive

There are several brands of emergency contraceptive pills made with a drug named levonorgestrel, including: Fallback Solo, Next Choice, Opcicon, Plan B One Step and other generic brands. Plan B One Step (Plan B) is one of the most commonly recognized brand names.

Plan B is a back-up oral contraceptive method to be used as soon as possible, but no more than three days (72 hours), after unprotected sex or contraception failure, to reduce the chance of pregnancy. Emergency contraceptives do not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases. Plan B and generic emergency contraceptive pills containing progestin only are available over-the-counter without a prescription.

How does it work?

Levonorgestrel is a hormone known as a progestin. Brands such as Plan B contain this hormone at a higher dose than birth control pills. The main function of levonorgestrel is to prevent or delay ovulation (i.e. to stop the egg from releasing), to block fertilization of the egg, or to prevent the egg from attaching (implantation) to the wall of the uterus (womb). The latest scientific research shows that FDA approved ECPs containing levonorgestrel or ulipristal acetate do not inhibit the implantation of a fertilized egg. ECPs stop pregnancy by keeping the egg from leaving the ovary or keeping the sperm from joining the egg. Plan B will not stop or harm an embryo that has already implanted. If you are already pregnant, emergency contraception will not work. It is not the abortion pill.

Plan B can be used more than once during the month. However, it is not an effective regular birth control method to prevent pregnancy because it does not provide lasting protection. Plan B works before ovulation occurs so if you have unprotected sex after ovulation, taking Plan B may not stop a pregnancy. If you have unprotected sex in the days or weeks after the use of Plan B, there is a risk of becoming pregnant.

Are there side effects?

Side effects of the emergency contraceptive pill may include nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain or cramps, breast tenderness, headache, dizziness, and fatigue (tiredness). Your period may be delayed, come sooner, be heavier or lighter than normal. These side effects usually do not occur for more than a few days after taking the medication. If vomiting occurs within two hours of taking the pill, contact your doctor to see if you need to repeat the dose. If your period is more than one week late, you may be pregnant.

Important: If you become pregnant or experience severe abdominal pain and/or bleeding 3-5 weeks after taking the emergency contraceptive pill, you may have an ectopic pregnancy (the egg has implanted outside the uterus). Since ectopic pregnancies may be life threatening, you should seek immediate medical attention.

How do I know if I should be concerned?

You should be concerned about an unintended pregnancy if you had sex and your birth control failed (i.e. condom broke, diaphragm not inserted correctly, during the fertile days while using natural family planning, etc.), if you did not use contraception, or if you missed/forgot to take your birth control pill(s). If you had sex and think that you may be at risk of pregnancy, chat with our nurse online or schedule an appointment at one of our three Bay Area Support Circle clinics in Oakland, Redwood City, and San Francisco. Support Circle offers free pregnancy tests and same day appointments.

Support Circle provides information about but is not a provider of the morning after pill.

Chat with a Nurse

Schedule an appointment

Morning After Pill

Ella – Emergency Contraceptive

 

References:

  1. http://www.planbonestep.com/
  2. http://ec.princeton.edu/info/ecp.html

 

 

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Morning After Pill – An Overview of Emergency Contraception

Morning After Pill – An Overview of Emergency Contraception

What is the Morning After Pill?

The “Morning After Pill” is a common name for the most popular type of emergency contraceptive. Emergency contraception or emergency birth control (EC) is used to reduce the chance of a woman getting pregnant after she has had sex without using birth control, during the fertile days while using natural family planning, or if the birth control method failed. While some EC methods may be taken as much as 3-5 days after unprotected sex, EC is most effective when taken as soon as possible (i.e. within a few hours).

Emergency Contraceptive Pills

Emergency Contraceptive Pills

There are two types of emergency contraception: emergency contraceptive pills (ECP), also known as the “Morning After Pill,” and the Copper-T intrauterine device (IUD). The IUD is a small, T-shaped device placed into the uterus by a doctor within five days after having unprotected sex. Emergency contraception pills (ECP) may prevent or delay ovulation by blocking fertilization while the IUD works mostly by making the sperm less able to fertilize the egg. Emergency contraceptives will not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

The latest scientific research shows that FDA approved ECPs containing levonorgestrel or ulipristal acetate do not inhibit the implantation of a fertilized egg. Emergency contraception pills (ECPs) stop pregnancy by keeping the egg from leaving the ovary or keeping the sperm from joining the egg. The Morning After Pill will not stop or harm an embryo that has already implanted. If you are already pregnant, ECPs will not work. It is not the abortion pill. Emergency contraceptive pills do not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.

ECP are available with or without a prescription. The Ella brand pill requires a visit to a doctor to obtain a prescription. Plan B One Step and other generic brands are ECPs that can be purchased at the pharmacy without a prescription.

While some emergency contraception pills can be used more than once during the month, they should not be used as a regular birth control method to prevent pregnancy. ECPs do not provide lasting protection. ECPs work before ovulation occurs so if you have unprotected sex after ovulation, taking ECPs may not stop a pregnancy. If you have unprotected sex in the days or weeks after the use of ECPs, there is a risk of becoming pregnant.

Important: If you become pregnant or experience severe abdominal pain and/or bleeding 3-5 weeks after taking the emergency contraceptive pill, you may have an ectopic pregnancy (the egg has implanted outside the uterus). Since ectopic pregnancies may be life threatening, you should seek immediate medical attention.

How do I know if I should be concerned?

You should be concerned about an unintended pregnancy if you had sex and your birth control failed (i.e. condom broke, diaphragm not inserted correctly, during the fertile days while using natural family planning, etc.), if you did not use contraception, or if you missed/forgot to take your birth control pill(s). If you had sex and think that you may be at risk of pregnancy, chat with our nurse online or schedule an appointment at one of our three Bay Area Support Circle clinics in Oakland, Redwood City, and San Francisco. Support Circle offers free pregnancy tests and same day appointments.

Support Circle provides information about but is not a provider of the morning after pill.

 

Chat with a nurse

Free Pregnancy Test

Schedule an appointment

Plan B Emergency Contraceptive

Ella Emergency Contraceptive

Is the Morning After Pill and the Abortion Pill The Same?

 

References:

  1. http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/emergency-contraception.html
  2. http://ec.princeton.edu/info/ecp.html