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Is My Emergency Contraception Going To Be Effective?

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear Is My Emergency Contraception Going To Be Effective?,

what will happen if i only took one dose of emergency contraceptive pills intead of two?please help im scared


Dear Is My Emergency Contraception Going To Be Effective?,

For our readers who may not know emergency contraception (EC), also known as emergency birth control or the morning-after pill, is used to help prevent a woman from getting pregnant after she has had sex without using birth control or if the birth control method being used failed in some way (i.e., the condom broke).

There are two main types of EC: Plan B One-Step and Next Choice. Both are available over-the-counter for people 17 and older. Those under 17 can get a prescription from their primary care physician or a doctor at a local health clinic. Plan B is a one-pill EC that should be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. Next Choice is a two-pill EC. With Next Choice the first pill should be taken as soon as possible within 72 hours of unprotected sex and the second pill should be taken 12 hours after the first one. Keep in mind that while taking both types of EC within 72 hours is ideal, EC can be taken up to 120 hours after unprotected sex – but the longer you wait, the less effective it will be.

Given that you said you only took one dose of EC instead of the two, TeenHealthFX is going to assume that you were given Next Choice. Missing a dose of Next Choice does increase your chance of becoming pregnant. FX recommends that you contact your doctor since you missed a dose as the timing of the doses is very important for the medication to be effective – your doctor can recommend how to proceed from here.

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can call the Adolescent/Young Adult Center for Health at 973-971-5199 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.

If you need to find a free pregnancy testing center, you can also call the American Pregnancy Helpline at 1-866-942-6466.

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