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Pills to Avoid Pregnancy After 72 Hours: Check Here


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Pills to Avoid Pregnancy After 72 Hours

Pills to Avoid Pregnancy

Preventing Pregnancy with Emergency Contraceptive Pills

Avoiding an unplanned pregnancy is possible by taking a single emergency contraceptive pill within 120 hours (5 days) after engaging in sexual intercourse.

Types of Emergency Contraceptives

Emergency contraception comes in two forms – readily available over-the-counter or prescription pills taken orally, and intrauterine devices (IUDs) which require insertion by a healthcare professional.

Preventing Pregnancy with Emergency Contraceptive Pills

This article will predominantly concentrate on emergency contraceptive pills.

While experts acknowledge that a person’s weight or Body Mass Index (BMI) can influence the efficacy of emergency contraceptive pills, precise clinical thresholds for effectiveness remain uncertain.

Consequently, healthcare professionals cannot definitively determine when these pills become less effective or ineffective.

Further research is essential to ascertain whether increasing the dosage could enhance effectiveness for individuals with higher weights or BMIs.

Regardless of weight or BMI, the copper IUD stands out as one of the most effective forms of emergency contraception.

Consulting a healthcare professional is advisable if you have this option, as they can recommend the most suitable emergency contraceptive for your specific needs.

Ulipristal Acetate (Ella)

“Ella is remarkably effective when taken within 120 hours (5 days) after intercourse, surpassing other emergency contraceptive options,” states Sophia Yen, MD, co-founder, and CEO of Pandia Health, an online birth control provider.

Ella employs a non-hormonal ingredient called ulipristal acetate to block the hormone progesterone, delaying ovulation for 120 hours (5 days), providing ample time for sperm to naturally expire before egg release.

This mechanism also thins the uterine lining, making implantation unlikely even if fertilization occurs.

According to Planned Parenthood, Ella is most effective for individuals with a BMI of 30 or less and may be less effective or potentially ineffective for those with a BMI of 35 or higher.

Ella is exclusively available by prescription and can be obtained through your primary care physician, gynecologist, local health department, clinics like Planned Parenthood, or telemedicine platforms like Nurx.

Typically, insurance and Medicaid cover the cost of Ella, making it affordable for many.

Plan B and Other Levonorgestrel Pills

Plan B, one of the most widely accessible emergency contraceptives, contains a synthetic version of progesterone called levonorgestrel.

This synthetic hormone can delay ovulation, reducing the likelihood of fertilization.

Other emergency contraceptives based on levonorgestrel include AfterPill, My Choice, My Way, Option 2, and Preventeza.

“Levonorgestrel pills are shown to be 89% effective if taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected intercourse,” states Cristin Hackel, a nurse practitioner at Nurx, a telemedicine provider.

They can still work within 72-120 hours (5 days) after intercourse but with reduced effectiveness.

According to Planned Parenthood, levonorgestrel-based pills are most effective for individuals with a BMI of 24 or less, potentially losing effectiveness for those with a BMI of 25 or higher.

These pills are available without a prescription at most drugstores, including CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens.

They can also be obtained from grocery stores and online retailers. Some providers offer financial assistance, and those with insurance or Medicaid may receive the medication at no cost.

Also check:Emergency Contraceptive Dose: How many Pills do you take for an Emergency Contraception?

Combination Birth Control Pills

Certain birth control pills can serve as emergency contraception when taken in higher-than-normal doses.

The increased hormone levels can delay ovulation and inhibit implantation.

This approach, known as the Yuzpe method, involves taking an initial dose within 72 hours and a second dose 12 hours later.

Pills to Avoid Pregnancy

It is only effective with combination birth control pills containing both estrogen and progestin, not with progestin-only minipills.

While the Yuzpe method is convenient, experts typically recommend it only when other emergency contraception options are unavailable due to its lower effectiveness and more side effects compared to Plan B and Ella.

Previous research indicates the Yuzpe method to be 56-86% effective, depending on the timing of medication after intercourse.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Can you create a homemade morning-after
  2. pill?

  3. Not precisely, but the Yuzpe method is sometimes referred to as a “homemade morningg-after pill.” Nevertheless, it is less effective compared to dedicated emergency contraceptives.
  4. Can pregnancy be prevented after 120 hours have passed?

  5. The copper IUD is a reliable option in this scenario. In the U.S., IUDs are approved for use as emergency contraception up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex and up to 168 hours (7 days) in Canada. Recent studies suggest copper IUD insertion up to 14 days (2 weeks) after intercourse may still help prevent pregnancy.
  6. Is it better to take emergency contraceptive pills or get an IUD if you have a choice?

  7. IUDs are considered the most effective form of emergency contraception. Copper IUDs are particularly effective as they create an environment toxic to sperm and prevent fertilization. While hormonal IUDs show promise, further research is needed to confirm their reliability.


The efficacy of emergency contraception increases the sooner it’s used after intercourse. However, options are available even after 72 hours (3 days) have passed.

Emergency contraceptive pills, especially ulipristal acetate (Ella) after 72 hours, can be highly effective.

The copper IUD stands out as one of the most effective emergency contraception methods overall.



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