Emergency Contraception 2019-04-11T12:32:59-04:00

Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraceptives are drugs and products used to prevent pregnancy or prevent the implantation of a new pregnancy.  There are many misconceptions about emergency contraception, and our licensed medical staff is committed to providing women in the Triangle with accurate information about their options.

Call today to discuss your options with Gateway’s team of medical professionals.

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What emergency contraception options do I have?

Emergency contraceptive options include the Copper Intrauterine Device (IUD), which requires a doctor’s office visit for insertion, prescription drugs, and morning-after pills that don’t require a prescription.

Gateway’s medical staff can answer questions you may have about emergency contraception.

How does Plan B (the Morning-after Pill) work?

Sperm can live inside your body for up to six to seven days, making it possible to get pregnant days after having sex. Plan B is a large dose of birth control medication and can work in 3 ways:

  • Preventing the egg from being released (ovulation)
  • Preventing the sperm from fertilizing the egg (fertilization)
  • Preventing an embryo (fertilized egg) from implanting in the uterus (implantation) by cutting off nourishment to the embryo.  In this way, Plan B acts as an abortifacient (producing an abortion).  (1)

How effective is Plan B?

Plan B is claimed to be 25% to 95% effective depending on how soon you take it after having sex, according to its manufacturer. (2)

  • 95% effective within 24 hours
  • 85% effective 25-48 hours
  • 58% effective 48-72 hours
  • 25% effective after 72 hours
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While Plan B may seem like the easiest solution following unprotected sex, here are some factors to be aware of:

Plan B has been shown to increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy, a life-threatening condition. (3)  

Plan B has not been approved by the FDA for use by teenagers and the effects  on teen girls’ health is still largely unknown. (4)

Many medications have drug interactions with Plan B, so if you are taking medication, check with your doctor to see if Plan B is safe for you. (5) 

Many studies have shown Plan B to be less effective for women weighing more than 165 pounds. (6) 

Women who believe that life begins at conception may have a moral or spiritual conflict with taking Plan B because of the potential for the implantation of a young embryo to be interrupted, causing the death of the embryo. (7)

Many studies have documented an increased risk of cancer with the use of birth control such as Plan B. (8)

Plan B provides no protection against STD’s & HIV. (9)

Small amounts of progestins are passed from mother to baby through breast milk of nursing mothers taking progestin-only pills for long-term contraception, resulting in detectable steroid levels in infant plasma. (10)

Possible side effects of Plan B?

As with most medications there are documented side effects to be aware of.  If you have symptoms that persist for more than 48 hours or are severe, see your healthcare professional. (11)

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Breast tenderness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding

Other side effects include:

  • Migraine or severe headache
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Painful menstruation
  • Vaginal discharge

If you experience any of the following side effects, consult with a doctor immediately:

  • Itching and a rash
  • Sudden or unusual cramps or pain in the stomach or belly
  • Uterine hemorrhage
  • Vaginal hemorrhage
  • Any effects that persist or worsen

Visit your doctor within 3 weeks after taking emergency contraceptive. A doctor should confirm that you are not pregnant, and that this medicine has not caused any harmful effects.

Plan B is a single dose medication. You should never give yourself additional doses.

What if I still get pregnant?

You had hoped your emergency contraception would work but it hasn’t and now you’re pregnant.  We can help you through this.

If you are having any symptoms of pregnancy or a positive pregnancy test after taking Plan B, we can help you decide your next steps. Our caring and supportive team will perform a lab-quality pregnancy test and help you understand all your pregnancy options. If your pregnancy test is positive, you may qualify for a free ultrasound to verify viability and see if proper implantation has occurred.

If abortion is a pregnancy option for you, we will provide free pre-abortion services including ultrasound and the education required in our state prior to any procedure.

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