Great question! There are a few types of emergency contraception (EC) and each of them works a little differently. That is true for some EC, but not all. Let’s take a look at each of the different options:
The first, and most effective, is Paragard IUD. This hormone-free IUD can be placed up to 7 days after unprotected sex and your weight will not affect how well it will work. It works by killing sperm and preventing implantation.
Ullipristal acetate (Ella)
The second best option, and most effective EC in pill form is Ullipristal acetate (Brand name: Ella) which can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex and works by preventing implantation. Your weight will also not affect how well this pill works. The only down side to this method is that it is harder to find, and many pharmacies are not stocking it.
Levonorgestrel (Plan B One Step)
The most common form of EC is a Levonorgestrel pill (Brand names: Plan B One Step, My Way, My Choice) which needs to be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex and it works by preventing ovulation. This type of EC is more commonly dispensed, but if you have already ovulated, it will not stop the development of a pregnancy. Levonorgestrel is unfortunately not very effective for overweight or obese women with a BMI of 35 or more.
It is important to remember that ALL of these types of EC are most effective when you take them as soon as possible after unprotected sex.
It is also important to keep in mind that EC shouldn’t be used as your regular form of birth control if you do not want to become pregnant. While it is a great option to have if a condom breaks, you forget a pill, your Nuvaring has been out for more than two hours, you are two weeks late for your Depo shot, etc., it is not always effective and does not work every time so it should really only be used as a backup plan.
This is why having a long-term birth control that you love and can rely on is so important. Make an appointment online or call (877) 883.7264 to talk to us about all of your birth control options.