Emergency contraceptive pills are sometimes called the "morning-after pill," but they are usually effective if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse, but the earlier they are used the better. Emergency Contraception pills contain high doses of the same hormones that are in birth control pills. Theoretically, Emergency Contraception could also prevent implantation, but that has not been proven scientifically. Emergency Contraceptive pills are not designed to terminate an existing pregnancy.
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Different kinds of birth control pills are used for emergency contraception. The dosage depends on the brand. Consult your health care provider to learn about options.
Cost depends on the health care facility, and may be provided on a sliding scale based on income. Prices for emergency contraceptive pills generally range from $8 to $50.
Using the Pills
Emergency Contraceptive Pills are taken in two doses. Take the first dose as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse and the second dose 12 hours later. Or, alternatively, both pills can be taken together. This option does not change the effectiveness, but may be more convenient.
Emergency Contraceptive Pills can make you throw up or feel nauseous. If you throw up within one hour of taking your dose of Emergency Contraceptive Pills, be sure to use an anti-nausea medication one hour before taking the second dose. Or you may want to take the second dose as a vaginal suppository by inserting the pills with your fingers as high into the vagina as you can reach, contact your doctor about getting another dose. The medication will be absorbed through the vaginal tissue.
If you vomit the second dose, do not take any extra pills. They probably won't reduce the risk of pregnancy. But they will probably make you sick to your stomach.
To reduce nausea:
Try to eat something before taking the pills
Take an anti-nausea drug before the second set of pills
Take the pills with milk not water
Side Effects of Emergency Contraceptive Pills
If your nausea is severe, your doctor may be able to prescribe a stronger anti-nausea drug.
Other possible side effects of Emergency Contraceptive Pills include:
You can take the emergency pill:
As many times as you need it
Twice in the same menstrual cycle
Even if you can't take the combined contraceptive pill
Even if you then decide to have an emergency IUD fitted.
Your next period will likely be on time, but it may be early or late. If you don't have your period within three weeks of taking the ECP, visit your doctor or a pharmacy to have a pregnancy test done.