What’s the Deal on the Morning-After Pill?

Oh no. Something went wrong with your birth control, and now you wonder: Could I be pregnant?

For whatever reason, you do not want to be pregnant right now. It’s not the right relationship, not the right time, you’re done having kids, or it’s physically dangerous for you to carry a pregnancy. A blood test for HcG (a hormone released during pregnancy, and the litmus test of most pregnancy confirmations) takes at least a week to show positive after conception. And a urine stick test – the drug store purchase with the classic “one line means negative; two lines means positive,” is only accurate around two weeks post-conception.  Other ways to confirm pregnancy, such as ultrasound or a gynecological check, are also not options at the very early stages.

So, what do you do if those sperm in your body could stick around and fertilize an egg on the verge of release? Because guess what – those pesky guys can survive up to 5 days.

One Answer: The so-called Morning-After Pill. While there are various types, all of them are hormonal pills similar to a birth control pill. They work by altering the chemical composition of your reproductive organs in order to prevent a conception or pregnancy. If you haven’t ovulated yet, these pills can stave off ovulation for longer than sperm would survive to fertilize an egg.

Since the advent of birth control, and especially the convenient birth control pill, women (and couples) usually don’t have to worry about getting pregnant anymore. But since birth control either doesn’t always work or isn’t always used 100% properly, some women prefer not to risk a pregnancy, and therefore use the Morning-After Pill as a back-up measure.  Keep in mind that the Morning-After Pill is just that: After-the-fact. It is sometimes called “Emergency Contraception,” implying that it is not to be used as a routine form of birth control.  Therefore, one should avoid the situation where you need it in the first place. If this happened to you, be sure to fully educate yourself on birth control usage.

Not every birth control method is right for everyone. If you have any questions regarding which birth control method is best for you, contact us – as usual, we’re here to address your needs according to your health history and lifestyle.