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Do I Still Need To Take The Morning After Pill?

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I'm due to start my period some time soon so me and my boyfriend decided to have safe sex before I started. But sometime during sex the condom came off. I got it out okay and obviously I planed on taking the morning after pill. But I've just woke up and I'm now on my period. Do I still need to take the morning after pill?
Signed: Do I Still Need To Take The Morning After Pill?

Dear Do I Still Need To Take The Morning After Pill?,

 

Theoretically speaking, if you currently have your menstrual period, then you should not need to take Emergency Contraception (the “morning after pill”). EC works in preventing pregnancy by stopping the release of the egg from the ovary, preventing the fertilization of the egg, or the attachment of the egg to the uterus. Once you have your period, it is generally too late in the menstrual cycle for an egg to be fertilized or to attach to the uterus – the unfertilized egg is on its way out of the body as part of the menstrual flow.

However, while we can say that this is theoretically true, it doesn’t mean that you should scrap the idea of taking EC in this kind of situation – particularly as an adolescent. Teenage girls can have irregular periods and menstrual cycles – and while many might be fine not to take EC in this kind of situation, there will always be those few who did need it. That said, FX thinks it would be better to err on safety and take the EC – the best thing would be to check in with your primary care physician, gynecologist, or adolescent medicine specialist as soon as possible so that he/she can confirm whether you should take it based on this situation, your medical history, and menstrual history. If you don’t have a doctor you can contact right away, you can also call 1-888-NOT-2-LATE.    

While abstinence is the only way to protect yourself from unwanted pregnancies or the transmission of STDs 100%, condoms can certainly greatly reduce the chance of either of these things from occurring. However, condoms can break and slip off, and they aren’t 100% effective even when used correctly. That said, FX does recommend a back-up method of birth control for teens who choose to be sexually active, such as the pill. FX recommends that you speak with your primary care physician, gynecologist, or an adolescent medicine specialist about whether it would be a good idea for you to be on the pill in addition to using condoms so you do not have to be as worried in the future about finding yourself in these kinds of emergency situations, which can be quite scary.

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-6475 for an appointment with an adolescent medicine specialist or contact your local teen health center or Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

Signed: TeenHealthFX

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