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Can Emergency Contraception Hurt You If You Take It When You Are Not Pregnant?

Published: August 07, 2013
Dear Can Emergency Contraception Hurt You If You Take It When You Are Not Pregnant?,
If youre not pregnant but you take an emergency contraception pill can it hurt you? My boyfriend and I had protected sex but one time the condom came off and he put it back on. Was that I bad idea? Should I go get the pills?

Dear Can Emergency Contraception Hurt You If You Take It When You Are Not Pregnant?,

Emergency contraception (EC), sometimes known as the morning-after pill, is not intended to be taken by women who are pregnant. In fact, if you know you are pregnant you should not take EC. EC should be taken by a woman who has had unprotected sex or whose birth control failed (i.e., the condom broke) as a way of preventing pregnancy from occurring.

If you have had unprotected sex or your birth control method failed, it is important to take EC as soon as possible. EC is generally 89% effective when taken with 72 hours after unprotected sex, but can reduce the risk of pregnancy up to 120 hours (five days) after unprotected sex.

As for your question about whether EC can “hurt” you, according to Planned Parenthood EC “is safe, and millions of women have used it. Various forms of emergency contraception have been used for more than 30 years. There have been no reports of serious complications….Side effects are uncommon and usually stop within a day or two.”

TeenHealthFX is not sure how much time has passed since this incident with your boyfriend. If it was less than 5 days ago, FX recommends you speak to your doctor about whether it would be a good idea to take EC. Plan B One-Step (one form of EC) is available over-the-counter without a prescription at a drugstore, Planned Parenthood health center, or family planning clinic.

For the future, FX would recommend the following:

  • EC is not meant as an ongoing method of birth control to be used regularly. So if you are sexually active, FX recommends speaking with your doctor about the most effective methods of birth control for you. It is generally recommended to use condoms (to protect against STDs and unwanted pregnancies) as well as a back-up method of birth control such as the pill or birth control shot (which will also help protect against unwanted pregnancies). But your doctor can make the best recommendations for you.
  • It would be helpful for you and your boyfriend to educate yourselves on how to properly use condoms, including how to put them on, take them off, and what to do if one breaks. If the condom slips off, it would be a good idea to put on a new condom.

 

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.

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