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Typical gynecology services include patient education regarding birth control methods. There are plenty of them to choose from, ranging from the pill to the shot to the patch, just to name a few. Yet, life is unpredictable and accidents can happen. Women who have unprotected sex can prevent an unwanted pregnancy with the morning after pill.

A woman looking at the pill in her hand

How the Pill Works

It’s a common misconception that the morning after pill is an abortion pill. In fact, it cannot result in pregnancy termination; it can only prevent pregnancy before it occurs. The way in which the pill works depends on where a woman is with regard to her menstrual cycle. It may work by preventing or delaying ovulation, or blocking fertilization of an egg. It may also help prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. If a fertilized egg does implant, women may choose to seek pregnancy termination services at an abortion clinic.

How to Use the Pill

Despite the name, the pill can be used for a wider window of time than just the morning after unprotected sex. Generally, the sooner a woman takes the pill, the more effective it will be. There are two types of morning after pills. Plan B One-Step contains levonorgestrel , while ella contains ulipristal acetate. Plan B One-Step should be taken as soon as possible. It is not effective after three days following unprotected sex. Taking this pill within 24 hours offers the best protection. Women who use ella can take the pill up to five days after having unprotected sex. Women who vomit after taking a morning after pill should contact a gynecologist to ask if they need to take another dose. Additionally, women should be aware that the morning after pill does not offer extended protection; another method of birth control is necessary.

Where to Get the Pill

Plan B One-Step is available over-the-counter; no prescription is necessary. However, ella does require a prescription from a gynecologist or other physician.

Washington Surgi-Clinic is a proud provider of comprehensive gynecology services to empower women in their family planning decisions and to support their overall wellness. Women who need morning after pills near Washington, D.C. can call us at (202) 659-9403. Our women’s health clinic also offers HIV testing, first and second trimester abortion, and STD treatment.