What is an Emergency Contraception—and more specifically, the morning-after pill?

There are two kinds of emergency contraception — the morning-after pill and Paragard®  insertion. In this blog we will talk about the morning-after pill.

  • The morning-after pill or Plan B® is a drug intended to be taken as soon as possible within the first 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. It contains a high dose of a progesterone (levonorgestrel), which is found in many kinds of birth control pills. At the dosage found in the morning-after pill, this drug may irritate the lining of your uterus, causing the embryo inside you from implanting, ending its life. If this happens, an abortion will occur, because each human life begins as an embryo. The morning-after pill is often referred to by the brand name that started it all—Plan B®. In 2009, Plan B® was reformulated and renamed Plan B One-Step®. It is now taken as a single-dose tablet. A two-dose generic form is also available.  The morning-after pill costs around $30 to $65, and some emergency contraceptions depend on your body mass index (BMI), in order to determine how effective they may be. The morning-after pill does not protect against HIV or STDs.

Think carefully before you use the morning-after pill, and make sure you understand the side effects and risks. Piedmont Women’s Center offers support as you consider whether emergency contraceptives may be for you. Please give us a call at 864-244-1434 . It is safe, confidential, and our all-women team is supportive for whatever need you are facing.

Source: © 2009, 2012 Focus on the Family “The Morning-After Pill” pamphlet

Footnote 1: FDA Prescribing and Label Information for Plan B One-Step®, Rev. July 2009; pp. 13-14; www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/021998lbl.pdf

Footnote 2: Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud. The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 6th Edition (Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 1998), pp.2-3

Footnote 3: “Watson Pharmaceuticals Receives FDA Approval for Generic Plan B® for Over-the-Counter Use”; August 28, 2009: http://ir.watson.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=65778&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1325502

What is an ectopic pregnancy?

Also known as an extrauterine pregnancy, an ectopic pregnancy is a potentially life-threatening condition in which a fertilized egg implants outside of the
uterus—most often in the fallopian tubes. The morning-after pill won’t end an ectopic pregnancy. If you have severe abdominal pain three to five weeks after using the morning-after pill, see your health care professional to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. If an embryo is growing in a fallopian tube, you will need to seek emergency care.

what is ectopic pregnancy

 

 

Source: © 2009, 2012 Focus on the Family “The Morning-After Pill” pamphlet

Footnote 1: FDA Prescribing and Label Information for Plan B One-Step®, Rev. July 2009; pp. 13-14; www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/021998lbl.pdf

Footnote 2: FDA Prescribing and Label Information for Plan B One-Step®, Rev. July 2009, p. 6 and 17; See footnote 1

Footnote 3: Picture from www.mayoclinic.org

What is the difference between the Abortion Pill and the Morning – After Pill?

That’s a great question. Here’s a chart that may help you out, as people often get confused about these pills.

The Abortion Pill: The Morning-After Pill:
Method An abortion method used to terminate an early pregnancy. A method used to prevent pregnancy. It may cause a very early abortion if fertilization has already occurred.
Medication Medications are Mifeprex® (mifepristone) and Cytotec® (misoprostol). Medication is Plan B One-Step® (levonorgestrel).
When to take? Must be taken within 49 days of when your last menstrual period began. Must be taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex.
Do I need a prescription? Pills must be prescribed by a health care professional. At least three visits to your caregiver are needed, possibly more. Depending on one’s age, the pill may be purchased without a prescription.
Will it prevent STDs? Will not prevent sexually transmitted infections or diseases. Will not prevent sexually transmitted infections or diseases.

 

If you have further questions about differences between the abortion pill and the morning-after pill, our expert team will be able to answer any questions you may have. Please give us a call at 864-244-1434 .

Source: © 2009, 2012 Focus on the Family “Morning-After Pill” pamphlet.

Footnote 1: Mifeprex is a registered trademark of Danco Investors Group, Cytotec is a registered trademark of Searle & Co. and Plan B One-Step is a registered trademark of Women’s Capital Corporation.

Are there side effects to using the morning-after pill?

Yes. You may experience several short-term side effects when taking the morning-after pill. These include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Irregular and unpredictable menstrual periods
  • Cramping and abdominal pain—which might also be the sign of an “ectopic pregnancy” (see “What is an Ectopic Pregnancy” blog)
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Breast tenderness

Keep in mind that cramping and abdominal pain that may result from the use of the morning-after pill can mask the symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy, which requires emergency care.

If you have further questions about the side effects of using the morning-after pill, our expert team will be able to answer any questions you may have. Please give us a call at 864-244-1434. It is safe, confidential, and our all-women team is supportive for whatever need you are facing.

Source: © 2009, 2012 Focus on the Family “The Morning-After Pill” pamphlet

Footnote 1: FDA Prescribing and Label Information for Plan B One-Step®, Rev. July 2009; pp. 13-14; www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/021998lbl.pdf

Footnote 2: FDA Prescribing and Label Information for Plan B One-Step®, Rev. July 2009, p. 3; See footnote 1

Post-Abortion Distress in Women

When a woman has an unplanned pregnancy, she may experience fear, hopelessness, and even panic. Often she feels pressure from the father of the baby, her parents, family members, friends, the doctor, etc., to choose abortion. She may also feel pressure from her life circumstances: what about her job, her education, her finances?

A woman may choose abortion to solve the problems she anticipates. Abortion is rarely an easy or casual choice. Afterward, she may feel relieved that her problems are solved. However, the act meant to be a solution often produces its own agony. Many women feel their abortion negatively affected them emotionally, mentally, and/or spiritually.

Post-abortion distress is the damaging emotional/psychological symptoms and destructive behavior changes associated with a past abortion.

The following is a list of the most common emotional/psychological symptoms and behavioral changes. A woman may experience one or more of these symptoms after an abortion. The symptoms may surface immediately following the abortion or months, even years, later. Some women have spent decades living with symptoms of post-abortion distress. Women who are experiencing post-abortion distress need healing and support.

Emotional/Psychological Symptoms 

  • Guilt
  • Unable to “forgive herself”
  • Emotionally numb
  • Shame
  • Grief/Sorrow
  • Unworthiness
  • Self-condemnation
  • Feels degraded/debased
  • Anger/Rage
  • Depression
  • Anxiety/anguish
  • Loneliness
  • Bitterness
  • Confusion
  • Fears punishment
  • Regret/Remorse
  • Hopelessness
  • Helplessness
  • Panic
  • Frustration
  • Feels exploited
  • Self-hatred
  • Despair
  • Feels rejected
  • Horror
  • Fears/dreams about losing a child
  • Flashbacks and/or nightmares
  • Fears another pregnancy or infertility
  • Feels inferior
  • Fears failure

Behavioral Changes

  • Secretive
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Crying spells
  • Divides times into “before” and “after” the abortion
  • Avoids baby reminders
  • Reduced motivation
  • Loss of normal sources of pleasure
  • Self-punishing and/or self-degrading behavior
  • Develops eating disorders
  • Alcohol and/or drug abuse
  • Suicidal impulses
  • Promiscuity or frigidity
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Marital stress
  • Abusive/tolerates abusive relationships
  • Withdraws from others
  • Difficulty with all types of intimacy
  • Changes in relationships
  • Wants replacement/atonement child
  • Damaged mother/child relationship
  • Over-protective of living children
  • Fails to bond with subsequent children
  • Cutting
  • Damaged feminine concept
  • Anniversary/Due date reaction

Piedmont Women’s Center offers a post-abortion support group for women. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you are not alone. Many women with an abortion in their past experience some level of post-abortion distress in their lifetime.

We can help. Please give us a call at 864-244-1434 or email us at ara@piedmontwomenscenter.org. It is safe, confidential, and supportive.