The best way to prevent pregnancy is not to have sex or to use a condom each time, according to Women’s Health. However, if you had unprotected sex and want to stop pregnancy, your options depend upon how quickly you take action. You might be able to use emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy after you had unprotected sex. However, once conception occurs, the only way to stop pregnancy voluntarily is through abortion.
Emergency Contraceptive Pills
You can either obtain the FDA-approved Plan B “morning after” pill or take high doses of certain birth control pills to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, according to Women’s Health. If you are already pregnant, this won’t work. It sometimes takes up to five days to get pregnant, but the sooner you take the doses the better. Plan B pills must be taken in two doses that are 12 hours apart to prevent conception. You can take two specific high doses of traditional oral contraceptives, such as Alesse, Nordette, Tri-Levlen and Trivora as emergency contraception, according to Planned Parenthood. Depending on the type of pill you use, you must take anywhere from two to five pills as soon as possible after sex and then repeat the same dose 12 hours later. Not all birth control pills will work; consult with a medical professional for specific instructions if you choose this method.
You can have an intrauterine device inserted in your body to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, according to Women’s Health. An IUD is a birth control method that is ideally used before sexual relations, but it can stop the sperm from joining an egg after unprotected intercourse. IUDs can remain in the body as a form of semi-permanent birth control for up to 10 years; some women may opt to have it removed sooner especially if they find the device uncomfortable. IUD side effects are rare, but when they occur can include heavy bleeding, injury to the uterus and pelvic infections.
Once you’re actually pregnant, you must get an abortion if you want to stop this process, according to the Mayo Clinic. You can take prescribed pills to stop the pregnancy or have a surgical abortion to remove the fetal tissue from your womb. If a voluntary abortion is performed safely by a qualified medical professional, this should not affect your future childbearing capabilities.
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