Get the Facts about Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception is commonly called the “morning after pill.” It’s not the same thing as the abortion pill. In fact, emergency contraception isn’t capable of terminating a pregnancy once it’s begun. Instead, it prevents unintended pregnancy from occurring.

When to Use Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception isn’t intended to be a primary method of birth control. It’s designed to be taken if your primary birth control method didn’t work or if you had sex without using birth control. Although it can prevent unintended pregnancy, the pill cannot protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or infections.

How Emergency Contraception Works

There are three primary effects. The morning after pill can temporarily prevent the ovary from releasing an egg. If the egg has already been released, the pill can prevent sperm from fertilizing the egg. If the egg has already been fertilized, the pill can prevent it from implanting onto the uterine wall. Pregnancy doesn’t begin until the fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus.

How to Take Emergency Contraception

There are different types of emergency contraception. You should always follow the instructions of your doctor or pharmacist, or the instructions on the label of the product. Depending on the brand you use, you may be able to take the pill up to three or five days after unprotected sex. However, the sooner you take the pill—preferably within 12 hours—the more effective it is.

Where to Obtain Emergency Contraception

At least one brand of emergency contraception requires a prescription that you can obtain from your gynecologist or primary care doctor. However, you can purchase another brand over-the-counter at a pharmacy. You do not need to show ID, and women and men of any age have the legal right to purchase it without restrictions.

Care Net Pregnancy Center of Kittitas County offers medical referrals, parenting education, and information about STDs and STIs. To request an appointment in Ellensburg, WA, you can call their office at (509) 925-2273.