FAQ

What’s the Morning After Pill? Should I Pick Plan B, Ella, or the Copper IUD?

FAQ

What’s the Morning After Pill? Should I Pick Plan B, Ella, or the Copper IUD?

Emergency contraception (EC), also called the morning-after pill, is something that can prevent pregnancy after you’ve had sex that could get you pregnant. For example, if you didn’t use any birth control, the condom broke, or you forgot to take your pill. It usually doesn’t work as well as regular birth control.

There are two types of emergency contraception: different types of morning-after pills and the copper IUD. They both work best when you use them as soon as possible.

You can get emergency contraception in Montreal by talking to a doctor, nurse, or pharmacist.

It’s important to know that using emergency contraception is not the same as having an abortion or taking an abortion pill. If you’re already pregnant, emergency contraception won’t affect the pregnancy.

What kinds of morning-after pills are there?

The are two types of morning-after pills, and each uses a different medication. Both types of pills work by preventing ovulation (preventing the release of an egg).

The brand “Plan B” uses levonorgestrel and “Ella” uses acetate to block ovulation. So what’s the difference?

Levonorgestrel pill (Plan B):

  • Can reduce the risk of pregnancy by up to 95% (when taken within 24 hours of sex).
  • Works best when taken as soon as possible and is most effective when taken within 24 hours of having unprotected sex. Plan B can still lower the risk of getting pregnant if taken up to 72 hours later.
  • May not work as well for people who weigh more than 165 lbs (75 kg) (although the data on this is limited).
  • Doesn’t require a prescription: you can get Plan B at any pharmacy by talking to the pharmacist.
  • Costs 30-50$, depending on your insurance. Plan B is covered by RAMQ’s public drug plan.

Ulipristal acetate (Ella):

  • Is generally more effective than Plan B: it can reduce the risk of pregnancy by up to 85% even after up to 5 days.
  • Works best when taken as soon as possible, but is still effective when taken within 5 days of having sex.
  • May not work as well for people who weigh over 195 pounds. However, Ella is more effective than Plan B for people over 165 lbs.
  • Requires a prescription: you need to see a doctor or nurse before you go to the pharmacy.
  • Costs up to 90$, depending on your insurance. Ella is covered by RAMQ’s public drug plan.

What are the side effects?

Like most medications, emergency contraception pills can have some side effects. These can include:

  • abdominal pain
  • breast tenderness
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • headache
  • irregular, altered, or heavier menstrual bleeding
  • migraines
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Know that if you vomit within 2 hours of taking the pill, it won’t be effective and you’ll have to take it again.

What about the copper IUD?

The copper IUD is another option for emergency contraception. It is a small t-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus. It can stay there for up to 10 years. The copper interferes with the way sperm moves and can damage the sperm, which makes it hard for the sperm to get to an egg and fertilize it. You can get a copper IUD in Montreal by talking to a doctor or nurse.

The copper IUD:

  • Is very effective. It can reduce the risk of pregnancy by up to 99%.
  • Works best when inserted within 5 days of having sex, but can still lower the risk of getting pregnant if it’s inserted up to 7 days after.
  • Works well for people of any weight.
  • Requires a prescription from a doctor or nurse and then an appointment to have it inserted by a doctor.
  • Costs 35$-350$, depending on your insurance.
  • Can be used as highly effective birth control for up to 10 years.

The copper IUD has its own set of side effects. This includes pain during and after the insertion, as well as more bleeding and cramping with periods. It can also be hard to get on short notice. So it’s best to start making calls as soon as possible. Some clinics will run an STI test before inserting the IUD.

To find a clinic close to you that does insertions, you can call Info-Santé at 811. If you’re 25 or under, you can also visit Head and Hands, a youth clinic near Vendome metro.

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