What Is The Difference Between The Emergency Contraception Pill And The Normal Pill?

preventing unwanted pregnancy
How Are Emergency Contraceptives Different To Ordinary Birth Control Pills?

An emergency contraception pill is used to prevent pregnancy AFTER unprotected sex whereas the normal pill is designed for use BEFORE sex. Emergency contraceptive is basically just a stronger dose of the same hormones used in regular contraceptive pills. It is also called the morning after pill, the day after pill and the morning after contraception. These names are slightly misleading because you can take most emergency contraceptives brands for up to 5 days after unprotected sex, and not just until the morning after. If you don't have access to emergency contraceptives, it is possible to use a higher dose of the normal pill instead.

List Of Emergency Contraception Brands

The following is a list of emergency pills available in the United States. Research shows they are all effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 120 hours of unprotected sex (although the sooner you take it, the better):

• Plan B One-Step: Available over the counter to women aged over 17.
• Levonorgestrel Tablets: Available over the counter to women aged over 17.
• Next Choice: Available over the counter to women aged over 17.
• Ella: Requires a doctor's prescription.

Regular Birth Control Pills

Taking emergency pills is one of the most effective way of preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex. But, as it may not always be possible to get hold of them, the FDA have approved the following list of regular birth pills as safe for use in higher doses as emergency contraception:

Aviane
Cryselle
Enpresse
Jolessa
Lessina
Levora
Lo/Ovral
LoSeasonique
Low-Ogestrel
Lutera
Lybrel
Nordette
Ogestrel
Portia
Quasense
Seasonale
Seasonique
Sronyx
Trivora

How Many Ordinary Birth Pills Should You Take?

To find out how to take the ordinary pill as an emergency contraception, check out:
Can I use ordinary birth control pills for emergency contraception?
Will I gain weight on the contraceptive pill?
Can you get pregnant while taking the pill?
Also, see our related questions:
What is emergency contraception?
How effective is emergency contraception?
What are the early signs of pregnancy before a missed period?

Did You Know?

Nearly 50 percent of all pregnancies in the United States are unintended and not planned. Emergency contraception can offer women a last chance to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse. It also offers security to the 8.6 million American women who rely on condoms for protection and who may be concerned about condoms breaking or slipping off. No oral contraception however offers any protection against sexually transmitted diseases, only a condom (including the female condom) will do this.

Before taking any new medications always discuss your pregnancy concerns with a doctor or healthcare worker.

• Like more information? See Birth Control Methods
• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions
• Planning a pregnancy? See: How To Prepare for Pregnancy

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