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18 Feb 2004

Emergency contracpetives
I just had sex this morning and the condom broke. I want to know whether it's worth taking emergency contraception if:

a) I just took emergency contraception around two months ago.
b) I am supposed to get my period this weekend.

How healthy is emergency contraception or how toxic is it — if you take it more than once within two months?

What chances do I have of getting pregnant?

Answer 393 views

01 Jan 0001

If you took emergency contraception (EC) two months ago, you are not protected for any intercourse you had afterwards. So, if you want to be protected at this point, it may make sense to take EC. Emergency Contraception offers a second chance to prevent a pregnancy after an unanticipated, unprotected event, or a birth control failure.

Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECPs) are certain combinations of particular birth control pills taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse to prevent pregnancy. While repeat use of ECPs have no known health risks, you may already be familiar with temporary side effects when you took them last; some women may have changes in the amount, duration, and timing of their next period, while others may experience nausea and vomiting.

You ask what your chances are of getting pregnant. One's chances of becoming pregnant cannot be predicted precisely since so many variables are involved. However, based on the information you provided, a couple of influential factors can be considered to help narrow the estimate of your risk of pregnancy. For example, did the unprotected intercourse happen during the most fertile days of your cycle? Typically, this period runs from five to six days before ovulation through the day after ovulation, with a 10 – 30 percent chance of becoming pregnant. If you're getting your period this weekend, you may or may not have already ovulated during this cycle. However, it is likely that you have already ovulated. If you know for sure that you have ovulated, and if the condom broke after ovulation ended, you're probably at low risk for pregnancy. Given that there is still a small possibility of becoming pregnant, using EC again may be of benefit.

In addition, when the condom broke during intercourse is another factor that may decrease or increase your likelihood of becoming pregnant. Did it break before or after your partner ejaculated? Most condoms fail because of human error, including from using expired condoms, opening the package with long or jagged fingernails or teeth, or not using enough lubrication. If you use condoms to protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), you could use another method in addition to the condoms as a pregnancy prevention backup, such as a diaphragm, a cervical cap, birth control pills, Depo-Provera, or an IUD. It also makes sense to consider other birth control options since ECPs are not intended to be used on a regular basis. They are not as effective as other methods of contraception that are used consistently and correctly. It can be helpful to talk with your health care provider about which method may work for you and your partner. For details about these other methods, search through the archive.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.
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