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Morning After Pill or Plan B

The Morning-After-Pill is known as Emergency Contraception.


The Morning-After-Pill is available over-the-counter (and certain types by prescription) to women above age 17 and one brand is available to anyone over-the-counter.  There aredifferent brands that require different types of dosing.


All brands instruct that a pregnancy test be taken first.  


If it is positive, the instructions state NOT to take the pill(s).  This is because a pregnancy may exist from previous intercourse.  Effects of taking it while pregnant are unknown.  The medication must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse in order to be effective.  It is less effective in women with a body mass index of greater than 25.


The Morning-After-Pill works in one of three ways.  It can prevent ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary), prevent fertilization of the egg by hormonally altering transport of the sperm, and prevent implantation of a fertilized egg (which already contains the genetic blueprint for human development) in the uterus.


The most common side effects are nausea and vomiting, menstrual cycle disturbances, breast tenderness, headaches and fatigue. (Note that these are also symptoms of early pregnancy.)  Serious risks include blood clots, liver tumors, heart attack, and stroke.  These risks increase significantly in women who smoke.  A follow-up appointment with a health care practitioner is recommended three weeks after taking the Morning-After-Pill.


The Morning-After-Pill DOES NOT prevent sexually transmitted infections or diseases. 


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