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Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception (ECP) is used to prevent pregnancy after sex when you didn't use protection or are worried that your birth control didn't work. It is sometimes called the ‘morning after pill’.

ECP contains one hormone called progesterone and comes as 1 pill, which should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. Plan B and Norlevo are the two brands you can get in British Columbia.You can take it up to five days after sex, but the sooner the better.

You can  get emergency contraception without a prescription at many pharmacies.You can also get ECP from your doctor, a walk-in clinic, youth clinics, STI clinics, and Options for Sexual Health clinics. ECP is usually free in youth clinics. 

After taking ECP, you may get your period at the usual time, but it is also common for it to be a few days early or late. If you haven’t had a period within 21 days of taking ECP, you should get a pregnancy test. Pregnancy tests can be done at your healthcare provider or a clinic. You can also buy a home pregnancy test at a pharmacy.

If you missed birth control pills, or had problems with your patch or ring, then talk to a health care provider about how to get back on schedule. It is a good idea to use a condom for seven days after taking emergency contraception.

ECP helps lower the chances of getting pregnant, but it is not as good as many other types of birth control. If you are having regular sex, talk to your health care provider about a more reliable form of birth control. 

Resources

Options for Sexual Health - Emergency contraception information
HealthLink BC – Emergency contraception information
Island Sexual Health Society – Emergency contraception options
Vancouver Coastal Health – Youth Clinics in Lower Mainland
SexandU.ca – Emergency contraception information

 

Search related content:
birth control, contraception, pregnancy
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