Birth Control and Pregnancy
February 10, 2007 5:08 PM   Subscribe

I had unprotected sex 5 days after starting birth control pills. (My birth control type advises to use an alternate method for 7 days after starting). Should I get emergency contraception? Even if it means getting my period again a week after it ended?
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (16 answers total)

You are at risk of becoming pregnant. The decision is yours. You probably won't get a "real" period so soon in any case. Getting a period just doesn't compare to getting an abortion, does it?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:13 PM on February 10, 2007

If you want to be sure you don't get pregnant, yes. If you want to play the odds, then you're playing the odds. There's nothing wrong with getting extra periods as far as your body's concerned and other than that I agree totally with Ambrosia Voyeur.
posted by jessamyn at 5:23 PM on February 10, 2007

What does your birth control type say about compatibility with the morning after pill? Are you sure it's an okay combination? Do you know how you will restart your regular birth control pills post morning-after-pill?
posted by alms at 5:47 PM on February 10, 2007

This is a fairly obvious instance of "of talk to your doctor," isn't it? If you're looking for us to tell you, "it's OK, you're fine," well, it's not, and you're not, until someone with a MD tells you otherwise.
posted by Richard Daly at 6:15 PM on February 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Yes, you are at risk of becoming pregnant.

If you choose to do something about it instead of hoping for the best, call your doctor/nurse practitioner and ask how to go about it. If you take emergency contraception, you will probably need to stop taking your BC pills until after you've gotten begun another period.
posted by jesourie at 6:42 PM on February 10, 2007

Talk to an MD ASAP. If the worst that happens is an extra period, though, I wouldn't hesitate. A period lasts a week; a baby lasts a lot longer.
posted by faceonmars at 7:14 PM on February 10, 2007

The morning after pill is just an extra dose of birth control (I think), So I'm not at all sure how it would effect you, and your current birth control... Talk to your doctor, and soon since the morning after pill only works with in a couple day time frame, and I think the effectiveness isn't all that great. 70% ?

The more I type the more I realize I'm not sure... talk to someone that knows for sure.
posted by magikker at 7:32 PM on February 10, 2007

The Plan B emergency contraception pills don't make you immediately start a have your next one at the normal time.
posted by holyrood at 7:36 PM on February 10, 2007

Same thing happened to me when I started the Depo shot. Although I turned out fine, I would definitely do it over again by just getting off my scared-stiff rear and getting Plan B. It's a little inconvenient and embarrassing, yes, but if you started something like Depo, you could end up going months without a period, meaning MONTHS of uncertainty.
posted by messylissa at 8:30 PM on February 10, 2007

A few quick facts:

1. You are vulnverable to pregnancy.
2. In general, the maximum time from intercourse to emergency contraception is 72 hrs.
3. Yes, some forms of EC are just increased doses of regular pills, but you still need to talk to your MD first.
4. Restarting your pill immediately after EC is usually an acceptable option.
5. You may or may not have bleeding afterwards.
6. You must consider whether you are at risk of acquiring an STD and should probably get tested.
7. In most cases, backup contraception will be required until your next period.
8. If you go ahead with EC, you will need a followup pregnancy test if no period comes by around 21 days (or is late).
9. Unfortunately EC is never 100% effective, but it's ability to prevent pregnancy is higher the sooner it's taken.
10. This is a useful link.
posted by commissioner12 at 8:51 PM on February 10, 2007

More information on emergency contraception (EC) here.

Just to clarify, a propos of Ambrosia Voyeur's remark (and apologies to AV if I'm misreading what you meant): emergency contraception does not cause an abortion. It does not abort or interfere with an established pregnancy; it only works by averting a pregnancy that has not happened yet.* It is a larger dose of the same hormones found in ordinary birth control pills, and it works in the same ways: by delaying ovulation or preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus.

As commissioner12 has pointed out, the window of opportunity for using EC is multiple days long (this link suggests that the maximum time limit is 120 hours), but the sooner EC is taken, the better its chances of effectiveness.

Anonymous, please consult with a doctor. You may be able to take an increased dose of your regular birth control pills or get a dose of Plan B, but nobody here can give you medical advice on your unique situation.

*Speaking in medical terms. If you, dear reader, wish to define "pregnancy" differently, I won't hang around this thread to argue with you, but the point is that from the body's point of view, the period it gets after using emergency contraception is a "real period." Whether an egg is fertilized or not, if it does not implant, the body does not know the difference.
posted by Orinda at 9:56 PM on February 10, 2007

Orinda, I think what Ambrosia Voyeur meant when she said "getting a period just doesn't compare to getting an abortion, does it?" was, "I know it's a pain having to contemplate another period so soon after the last one, but wouldn't you rather go through that than an abortion a few weeks down the track if you do actually get pregnant?" That what I thought she meant, anyway.
posted by hot soup girl at 2:27 AM on February 11, 2007

Look, the FDA would not have approved the EC drugs if they were harmful taken in any likely scenario. So get the EC and stop worrying.

I guess you may be too young to recognise the term "low-dose" birth control pill -- doses used to be much higher, and they were taken for years and years. One high dose is going to do exactly what to your health?
posted by Idcoytco at 3:27 AM on February 11, 2007

(Thanks, hot soup girl. I thought there might be another meaning I wasn't getting, but I couldn't quite sort it out.)
posted by Orinda at 8:05 AM on February 11, 2007

That's right, hot soup girl. It's a good point to be clear on, what with misinformation out there conflating RU-486 and Plan B.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:15 AM on February 11, 2007

Thanks for confirming, Ambrosia Voyeur. Looks like we are on the same page after all.

Anonymous, I hope you are doing well!
posted by Orinda at 6:24 PM on February 11, 2007

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