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What’s the Difference Between the Morning After Pill and Birth Control Pills?

The morning after pill is a single pill designed to prevent pregnancy after you have unprotected sex or a birth control mishap, while birth control pills are taken daily to prevent unplanned pregnancies. The morning after pill should not be used as a form of birth control.

How Does the Morning After Pill Work?

The morning after pill uses either levonorgestrel or ulipristal acetate to prevent ovulation. Plan B One-Step must be taken within three days of having sex. Ella works for up to five days after having sex, though they are more likely to be effective the sooner you take them.

How Does Birth Control Work?

Birth control pills often contain levonorgestrel or another type of progestin along with estrogen. These pills work in a similar manner to the morning after pill. They prevent ovulation and make it more difficult for sperm to reach the egg if ovulation does occur. Birth control pills are taken daily and provide ongoing protection from pregnancy.

Will the Morning After Pill Work Like Birth Control?

The morning after pill does not provide ongoing protection against pregnancy. It will only help prevent pregnancy after the initial encounter. If you have sex again after taking emergency contraception, you are not protected. You should use another form of birth control to prevent pregnancy in future sexual encounters.

Birth control pills are more effective than emergency contraception. If taken within 24 hours of having sex, emergency contraception is 95% effective. When taken perfectly, the birth control pill is 99% effective.

If you have to take the morning after pill more than two or three times a year, you may want to consider getting birth control as this is a more cost-effective option.

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