• Nicole Habibe Burgos

This Is YOUR Year! : Emergency Contraception


Ok, you’re not the only one. We know what it’s like to be so in the moment that you don’t realize the condom broke or that you forgot to take your pill that morning. And we absolutely know what it’s like to have that mini panic attack because this is our year and we’re not ready for a baby right now.


That’s what emergency contraception is for, so let’s go through your options. The first, and probably most known about, is the “morning after” pill. This consists of a progestin only pill (either as one pill or two pills each containing levonorgestrel) that is available over the counter, so you can go to your nearby pharmacy and pick that bad boy up as soon as possible. The earlier after unprotected sex you take it, the better, but these can be used up to 3 days after. Next we have a combined progestin-estrogen pill, which can be used up to 5 days after sex, but requires a prescription from your doctor and may cause some nausea and vomiting. Similarly, the selective progesterone receptor modulator (a single pill of ulipristal acetate, a.k.a. Ella) works up to 5 days after but also requires a prescription. This may be a good time to take advantage of our office hours this week, where you can have a quick visit with one of our providers and ask for this much needed tablet. We can even order it just so you have a prescription on lock in times of emergencies.


The most effective way to prevent pregnancy with emergency contraception is the copper IUD, however. It is super effective if placed within 5 days of unprotected sex, and the best part is you can keep it up to 10 years as your contraceptive device. Only downside is you need to go to your trusty doctor and have it placed ASAP. Oh, and it could also cause some cramping and increase your menstrual bleeding, but otherwise it’s a great long term non-hormonal contraceptive.


Let’s keep in mind that Black women are more likely to rely on less efficacious contraception like withdrawal method or no contraception at all, and are therefore 3x as likely as white women to experience an unintended pregnancy. If this happens to you, hope is not lost. So, you have options but consider them fast. Remember, the earlier you take any of these pills, or put that IUD in, the better and the sooner you can get that peace of mind. But remember this is called emergency contraception for a reason, so if you're definitely not ready for a baby anytime soon, it might be time to talk to your doctor about more effective long-term contraception, of which there’s a bunch of options- one of which will be right for you.


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