Posted: August 27, 2015 Contributor: PRJKT RUBY

EC 101: Your Guide to Emergency Contraception

If you are ever in a situation where your normal birth control method(s) have been compromised, emergency contraception is something you should know about. This could mean that you have forgotten birth control pills, had a condom break or perhaps you didn’t use any contraception methods at all. Fortunately, depending on the type of EC you use, you have up to 3 to 5 days to do something about it.

What is Emergency Contraception?

Emergency contraception (EC) is available for women who had unprotected sex, or suffered a lack of coverage from their normal contraceptive methods. When taken as directed, EC can drastically lower the chances of pregnancy occurring.

How EC Works

In order to lower the chance of pregnancy taking place, there are several things EC must do. EC contains higher doses of hormone which actually block the pregnancy from taking place. This is largely accomplished by stopping the body from releasing an egg. Even with sperm present, the lack of egg means that there is no risk of pregnancy. Additionally, if an egg is already present, the pill reduces the odds that a fertilized egg will implant in to the uterine lining.

Types of EC

Plan B One-Step – this medication is now available over-the-counter in your local pharmacy. The important thing with Plan B is it must be taken right away to be at it’s most effective. While it can be taken up to 72 hours after sex, it begins to lose effectiveness with each hour that passes.
*There are also other similar EC pills that are generic for Plan B One-Step*

ella – ella is a prescription medication used for the prevention of pregnancy. It is similar to Plan B One-Step in it’s method of action however, it can be taken up to 5 days after sex and it does not lose effectiveness each hour that passes, like Plan B does.

Many people wrongly confuse emergency contraception with abortion pill. EC will not cause a miscarriage or abort a current pregnancy.

Another benefit of EC is that you don’t need to wait until you are in the situation to get it. It’s a wise idea to keep Plan B or ella in your medicine cabinet so you have it if an emergency does arise.