We now offer Ella® brand emergency contraception!
What is Ella® Emergency Contraception?
Ella® is a method of birth control you can use if you have had sex without using birth control or if your birth control method did not work effectively. You must use emergency contraception as soon as possible after unprotected sex.
Emergency contraception pills are different from an abortion pill. If you are already pregnant, emergency contraception pills do not stop or harm your pregnancy.
Emergency contraception has also been called the “morning-after pill,” but you do not need to wait until the morning after unprotected sex to take it.
Emergency contraception is not meant to be used for regular birth control. Talk to your doctor or nurse about regular birth control to help prevent pregnancy.
Types of Emergency Contraception
We have two types of FDA-approved medications available in our office:
ella® (ulipristal acetate)
Plan B One-Step® (LNG-only) — Plan B One-Step® has several generic versions. Some common generic versions include AfterPill™, My Way®, Next Choice One Dose™, and Take Action™.
Does body weight affect how well emergency contraception works?
Ella® is an emergency contraception pill that is effective in preventing pregnancy up to 5 days after unprotected sex. Plan B is effective only up to 3 days after unprotected sex and has been found to be less effective in people weighing more than 155 pounds. Ella® becomes less effective in people with a BMI higher than 30, but it is more effective than Plan B in this group of people.
How quickly should I use emergency contraception after unprotected sex?
Emergency contraception works best when you use it as soon as possible after unprotected sex. If you are unable to take it right away, emergency contraception can still work to prevent pregnancy if taken up to three to five days after unprotected sex. How long after depends on which type of emergency contraception you use.
Take Plan B One-Step® or a generic version as soon as possible within three days (or 72 hours) after unprotected sex.
Take ella® (ulipristal acetate) as soon as possible within five days (or 120 hours) after unprotected sex.
How does it work?
Research shows that emergency contraception pills work mostly by preventing or delaying ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary). Less commonly, emergency contraception may prevent fertilization of the egg by the sperm if ovulation has already happened. If a fertilized egg has already implanted in your uterus (you are pregnant), emergency contraception pills will not stop or harm your pregnancy.
What are the Side Effects?
Side effects of emergency contraception are rarely serious. Side effects differ for each woman and may include:
- Abdominal pain
- Tiredness (fatigue)
- Breast pain
The side effects are usually mild and do not last long. Your next period may come early or late, and you may have spotting (light bleeding that happens between menstrual periods).
Can I use emergency contraception as my regular form of birth control?
No. Do not use Plan B One-Step® (or a generic version) or ella® as your regular birth control. Most other types of FDA-approved birth control, when used correctly, are much better at preventing pregnancy than emergency contraception pills and usually cost less. Also, while emergency contraception pills are safe for emergency use, they have not been tested as regular birth control and are not approved by the FDA for this purpose.
Women who are sexually active will need to use birth control to prevent pregnancy. What type of regular birth control you can use right away depends on the type of emergency contraception you take.
If you take ella®, do not use hormonal birth control (the pill, patch, vaginal ring, or intrauterine device) for at least five days after you take ella®. Using them together may cause ella® not to work. Instead, use a condom, diaphragm, sponge, or cervical cap until you get your next period.
If you take Plan B One-Step® (or a generic version), you can start right away or continue using a regular form of birth control.
Will emergency contraception affect my next period?
Maybe. After you take an emergency contraception pill, your next period may come sooner or later than normal. Most women will get their period within a week of the expected date. Your period also may be heavier, lighter, spotty, and more or less painful than is normal for you.
If you do not get your period more than one week after expected or if you think you might be pregnant after taking emergency contraception pills, take a pregnancy test to find out for sure.
We hope this helps you make a more informed choice on which emergency contraception is right for you. Please do not hesitate to call our office with any questions or fill out the contact form if you need to be seen immediately to receive ella® emergency contraception or one of our other recommended brands.