Elaine Brown, MD  
Female, 60
Billings, MT

Specialties: Pregnancy, Gynecology

Interests: obstetrics & gynecology, Gynecology
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(406) 252-0022
Billings, MT
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How To Prevent Pregnancy In An Emergency

Feb 08, 2009 - 35 comments









Birth Control




Emergency contraception


contraception failure


pregnancy prevention

Unfortunately, many women are unaware of the availability of emergency contraception.  Also known as the Morning After Pill or Post coital Contraception, emergency contraception is safe, effective and easy to obtain.  

Emergency contraception is a therapy used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse, or in cases of contraceptive failure such as a broken condom. It involves taking only two doses of medication which can be completed within a 24 hours period.

There are two different types of emergency contraception.  In the United States, Plan B is the most common preparation; its cost is between $10 and $50. It can be obtained without a prescription by women over 18 years of age, and with a prescription for those under 18.  With a doctor's instructions, emergency contraception can also be made up from standard oral contraceptive pills to create the second type of preparation.

Emergency contraception works by several possible methods, the most likely being by delaying or preventing ovulation. It has no effect at all on a fertilized embryo, and should not be confused with medical abortion. Most data indicate that it will not cause birth defects in the event that it is inadvertently taken during pregnancy, and it will not cause abortion of an established pregnancy.

Emergency contraception is most effective when used as soon as possible after unprotected sex, but may be effective up to 120 hours after the fact. Studies indicate that use of emergency contraception prevents up to 75% of expected pregnancies.  

There are very few people who cannot take emergency contraception.  Even women who are not normally candidates for oral contraceptives, such as those with migraines, liver disease, or heart disease can take emergency contraception.  Breastfeeding is not a contraindication.

Most women's health providers such as Planned Parenthood, primary care providers, and obstetrician/gynecologists
will prescribe emergency contraception to their established patients over the telephone without the need for an office visit or laboratory tests. Walk-in Clinics and Emergency rooms will prescribe emergency contraception to patients without an established physician.

Common side effects of emergency contraception are nausea/vomiting and irregular menstrual bleeding.  Many health care providers prescribe anti-nausea medications which may be taken one hour prior to the dosage, to help reduce the symptoms.  If vomiting occurs within 2 hours of the dose, the dose should be repeated. It is rare for the nausea to last more than 24-48 hours. Nausea is much less common with Plan B than with other preparations.

Irregular bleeding is very common.  The normal period can come early or be delayed, spotting may also occur.  Abnormal bleeding does not usually persist into the next menstrual cycle.

No follow up evaluation is needed after emergency contraception, unless the period is delayed by more than a week, irregular bleeding persists, or abdominal pain or other symptoms develop.  A barrier method of contraception (such as condom or diaphragm) should be used for the remainder of the cycle. Emergency contraception can be repeated within
the same cycle if necessary. Emergency contraception is not recommended as a regular form of birth control. On-going hormonal or other contraception may be started immediately after emergency contraception or with the next menstrual period.

To summarize:

Emergency contraception requires only two doses of medication, and can be finished with in 24 hours.

It is available to women over 18 without a prescription, or a prescription can often be obtained over the telephone.

It can be used safely by almost anyone.  

It can be used up to 120 hours after unprotected sex, although it is most effective if taken within the first 72 hours.

Side effects are minor and can be alleviated.

It is effective in preventing 75% or more of expected pregnancies, but will not cause abortion.

Plan B is the most common product in the United States; the cost of Plan B ranges from $10 to $50.

For more information go to:


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by LexiFaye, Feb 08, 2009
I'm in Colorado, and I found out when a friend needed EC, that it is also available at Walgreens and Rite-Aid too.

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by adgal, Feb 09, 2009
I cannot thank you enough for posting this information.  So many seem to think it is the same as an abortion, and hopefully this clears that up.  I can also add that the laws for getting it are the same in Canada (you can get it from a pharmacist without a prescription if you are over 18).  It is available at almost all major pharmacies here (London Drugs, Shoppers Drug Mart, WalMart and Safeway), and the cost is similar.  Thank you again, this is such important information.

Avatar universal
by Warembo, Feb 09, 2009
What are the chances that Plan B failled?    

I had unprotected sex on the 22nd and took plan B immedietly. My perionds were expected on the 7th but on the 2nd i had spotting then from the 3rd to today the 8th i hav been having light bleeding.

Besides that i am very bloatted, hav a headache and nausea. Could i be pregnant?

Could i have experienced implantation bleeding?

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by lmaher87, Feb 10, 2009
do you know by any chance that this is available as easily if necessary in canada?

Avatar universal
by danaseilhan, Feb 11, 2009
I wanted to add that the reason EC doesn't cause an abortion is that it contains progesterone, which is a hormone that encourages the establishment of a pregnancy (pro or "favoring" + gest or "pregnancy").  The so-called "abortion pill" works in the exact opposite way in that it shuts off the supply of progesterone, causing a pregnancy to end.  It kind of bugs me that so many interest groups get hysterical about EC when if there has been a conception, EC not only won't prevent implantation but will actually encourage it.  FYI, I have seen it available at Target here in Ohio, if anyone locally is wondering where to find it (I'm in Columbus).

Avatar universal
by michelegirl44, Mar 02, 2009
Vaginal allergic reation! itching! Been to doc,tested for everything. Please read the inquiries in  dermatology, Jaclyn150 and Michelegirl44.  Please help us! Thanx oooldles!  

Avatar universal
by lala2501, Apr 03, 2009
These were my results: The uterus is retroverted, non-gravid, and appears normal in size. No obvious myometrial abnormality. The endometrial stripe is thin and uniform. The ovaries are enlarged and contain numerous small peripheral follicles.A small amonut of free fluid is seen in the pelvis. CAN SOMEONE AFTER READING THIS TELL ME WHAT ARE MY CHANCES OF EVER...
how can i cure this bilateral polycystics ovaries?
Mar 20, 2009 02:40PM in the Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Community
Does having this problem make me infertile? I have been trying for 7yrs. Had 3 miscarriages and very irregular periods. I was diagnosed 4yrs ago.

Avatar universal
by concerned1983, Apr 12, 2009
i have a question i had a pregnancy test on the 6th of april an it came back positive but for some reason i been spotting on an off for almost 2 weeks now im kinda scared an nervious along with the spotting im not getting no pains .. what can this be ?

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by toto19, Apr 21, 2009
hi I want to know how can i check that am a virgin? Because i used to play down there and i need to check how can i know how to check that am virgin or not

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by MONROY, Apr 28, 2009
IHi, I just rcently had a miscarriage 5 days ago, i do n't know why ? Could it have been that I had just  my iud removed, I had in for 3 yrs? But from the get go of my pregnacy I had a bacterial infection then I started bleeding off and on then it got more heavyier. But I went to the doctor several times to make sure I and my baby were okay and all they would say the baby's there and you only 5 wks so your early since your bleeding we can't say where this pregnacy is going to go or stay, but not once did they tell me your baby is okay..Then  in the E.R I asked if I needed a D&C done they said no since the baby was small, then nothing hurted me but now my biody hurts. So does all this make any sence..

Avatar universal
by sabbyb, Jun 05, 2009
i am 18 years old, and i had sex with my boyfriend for the first time. we did not use a condom but he withdrew in time, but i still felt a little uneasy about the whole thing cause some of his semen dropped on my inner thigh and places around my anus. I used an emergency contraceptive pill after an hour of intercourse. i also suffer from irregular periods, as my gynecologist says "not a classical case of PCOS, but slightly enlarged ovaries". i am scared that i might get pregnant!!! also, when should i try a home pregnancy test, as i am not always sure about when i would have my period. also are these tests always correct??? please help me!!!

Avatar universal
by xoLondonxo, Jun 22, 2009
You have to take responsibility for your own body.  You say your boyfriend "pulled out" in time...there is pre-ejaculation that neither of you will feel during sex that contains sperm.  This, is why "pulling out" doesn't work.  NEVER have sex with a man without a condom - for reasons of std's (often undetected or unknown) and prevention of pregnancy.  It is not an issue of trust, it's an issue of protecting yourself.  This is your life...you only have one shot.  
Good luck!

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by Krystenc, Jul 11, 2009
Okay so i have a question for you... 26th of may(last day of mensral period) i was manipulated into having sex with an ex.. when i currently have a boyfriend whom we are trying to have a baby so I DO NOT WANT TO BE PREG WITH TH EX!!! soo... that day i took PLANB... 2 weeks later june 9th i went to planned parenthood to make sure i wasnt pregnant.. i had a urine test... it was negative... 2 weeks after that when i was 2 days late for my period... june 28 or 29th i wanted to make sure i was not preg with his baby so i went to my doctor an had a blood test... NEGATIVE.... then on thursday july 9th i just went back to panned parenthood again for a urine test... negative... also have taken home tests between all the other testings... they all say negative... BUT i have not had my period.... NOWW todayy, i have had a veerrryyy light red blood flow... every now and then... this started after i had sex... soo WHY havent i started my period... is this light blood a period.. or did i hurt something up there??? but mostly... what the heck is going on.. your advice would be greatly appreciated because im gong completely INSAAANNE!!! ive been waiting everyday now for my period since may 26th lol.. please hellllp

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by AngelDavis09, Aug 16, 2009
I took it and it didnt wrk. I had an accident july 10th with my husband, took plan b pill and now I found out i have two sacs Twins. Im so overjoyed of the fact but scared that I didnt see any babys because of the plan b. Dr Elaine said it just might be to early ,...My fingures are crossed Im so happy and sad they may not be there. TY Angel

Avatar universal
by ann24_1985, Aug 24, 2009
hello, my  LMP 16,2009 i was taking exluton pill 10thday starting from the first day of  my menstruation may 25,2009 and it last for 4 days then by june 2nd week i had my menstruation again so early knowing that i just started taking the pills when i finished the first pack and open another packed again since july 16 i had stop taking the pill coz my partner is not around anymore.our last contact was july 13 and stoped the pill july 16 and till now havent had my menstruation period, what advice should you give me?im worried already..am i pregnant?

Avatar universal
by lovelyladyperfection, Sep 06, 2009
question..I had sex with my boyfriend and he came inside me,and we didn't realize until afterward that the condom broke so he actually came inside me.I took plan b, but  I was on my period,It was almost done, but still I don't know if it's still effective. I know it prevents the egg from being released from the fallopian tube but if I was on my period was it already out of the tube? Was it flushed out already or am I at a high risk of pregnancy?

Avatar universal
by becs83, Sep 17, 2009
One of my breasts is sore--top and side near my arm pit--not prego and not due for menstrual.  Wondering whats going on.  Any thoughts?

Avatar universal
by kristinrogers, Sep 23, 2009
Im 18 and i am confused. i'm 3 days late i have veins visable in my chest sore nipples. I also have cramps like im going to start but i dont just a white discharge.
But the pregnancy test was negative.
I have never had kids so i dont know what i am looking for.

can you please help me figure out whats going on with me?

thank you so very much

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by xoxoTara_Mari3xo, Nov 16, 2009
hello my name is tara i am am curently 14 days late on my period i usually always get it in the begining of the month..i took 3 pregnacy test 1 came out negitive but the other too didnt show up at all just a really faint negitive i ben haveing white discharge with some pinkish in it but i kno its no my period?

Avatar universal
by kristina1989, Jan 28, 2010
i was wondering if i had unprotected sex on january 22 and i expect my period February 2, in a week, but i use yaz birth control and i still am, can get pregnant?

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by mariefox, Feb 21, 2010
My boyfriends sperm spilt on my vagina 13 hours ago. Im not sure it in might have went it. I took plan b 1 or 2 hours ago. Am i okay? im freaking out.

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by AnaxBaybeh, Mar 07, 2010
I had sex with my boyfriend but the condom broke. I went and took the morning after pill (plan B one step] the second day.  And the next day when i woke up i noticed i was bleeding. And i tought this was my period but im onlii bleading very little. Could i Be pregnant ?? Is only been 4days since i had unprotected sex.

Avatar universal
by tanya789, Mar 22, 2010
we don't use condoms, but he always takes the sperm out, is it possible for me to became pregnant????? ,

Avatar universal
by simplycurious69, Mar 22, 2010
Dear Doctor,

I am a 40 year old woman had abortions and miscarriages total 7 and was married twice. I had long relationships and both of my marriages did not want to have any kids. I used pills but gave me blood clots so I had to stop it, and sometimes we will use condoms or pull it out.

My question is since I had many abortion and miscarriages what are my risk if I decided to have a child now?  
Can I still have a child?
What are my chances?


Avatar universal
by zainyatif, Mar 31, 2010
dear dr,am 28 years old n want to concive,am married approx 2 years ago but cant concive still,am live in pakistan n worried abt it,plz help me my period is also missing still 1month n 21st days n was a urine test before 15 days ago but report was negative so wats it hppen,plz do help me

Avatar universal
by daima, May 16, 2010
is the doc replying NO? so why is everybody poting questions?

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by csof, Sep 17, 2010
My girlfriend ended her period last week, On the day she got off and hour later she started for an additional day. The next afternoon we had unprotected sex, me thinking she was still on her birth control shot...I come to find out the next day she had missed her shot that month before. (I think its the de prova shot she gets it every 3 months)  That day she started getting Lightheadedness, Stomach pain, Nausea, bloating, eating a lot ect. Now its been about 2 weeks since we have had sex, today  about 2 weeks later she calls and says she vomited this morning. I feel like Im screwed, We have no money, no job, Im just getting bsack into school and she just got kicked out of school from missing to many hours. We have nothing!!!! I need help

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by cutegirl20, Nov 02, 2010
thank u so much doc.. i was a bit confused about the side effects of an ecp... here the doctors gave an info that an ecp is meant for women above 25 yrs and can have serious effects women less than that even causing permanent infertility... this caused great confusion and panic as well but thanks to your post i am highly relieved and can help others also... thank u  you once again..

Avatar universal
by NHPH, Dec 03, 2010
Hey doc when ma gf and i had unprotected sex she was already 2 days late (30 day normal cycle) ,  we havent had any sex before that time and now it's been two weeks since... she took EC with in 48 hrs after sex and the home pregnancy test four or five days after the sex and its positive.... can she be pregnant or is the +ve result due to the EC pls i wanna know ur opinion or anyones opinion for that matter

Avatar universal
by blondie2219, Dec 06, 2010
im only 15 years old, about to turn 16 and well me and my boyfriend just recently had sex for the first time. im on birth control and we did use and condom, but it broke sometime during and we dont know how long it had been broke before we realized it. what really scares me is that i was at the end of my period when we did this. is there a chance that i could be pregnant? please help!

Avatar universal
by carla1987, Jan 07, 2011
hi im 23 years old ive been having pink spotting for a few weeks now it will come and go i also have kinking under my ribs and in my back as well as fluttering feelings in my stomach constintly i took a pregnancy test but came out negitive my pants are getting tighter but i really dont know what to think if you have a idea of whats wrong with me please inbox me thanks so much very concerned

Avatar universal
by mad514, Aug 21, 2012
I am 22 years old. I have been using Yaz contraceptive pills and metformin 500mg for the treatment of PCOS since 3 months,now it is my third month.Recently,a week back I have started using homeopathic treament because of acne problem on my face due to metformin tablets,so I stopped using metformin and continued yaz for this month cycle as adviced by my phisician and started taking homeopathic medicine along with yaz.. ,yesterday on 21st pill,I had sexual Intercource with my parter for the first time. As I have studied that yaz is a birth control pill,does the usage of homeopathic medicine reduces the effectiveness of the pill? Is there any chance of myself getting pregnant?? If not,can i stop taking pills after having my period with no chance of getting pregnency?

Avatar universal
by mazeal, Nov 28, 2012
Hi im 26 yrs and is being 2yrs since I had sex will it afect me .whn im married nd tryin to concieve pls I wnt to knw.
Thank u

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by Snownight, Mar 14, 2014
I'm 16 and it's almost been two weeks since my boyfriend and I had unprotected sex. He pulled out before he ejaculated but just in case, I need to know if there is anyway possible for me to prevent being pregnant at this point. I'm desperate for an answer. I'm not at all ready for a child nor do I want one any time soon. Please, I'm begging for an answer.

Avatar universal
by Sugarwuv, Jun 30, 2014
I have had the mirena for 7 months now Nd have been having normal periods until now. I had what I thought was a period but it was black and brown no red at all and it had tar like tissue in it.. I then went two weeks with nothing and then two days of light pink spotting.. I then pass a big pink and white and clear glob of what looked like a mucus plug and I'm very crampy could I be pregnant or can anyone tell me what's goin on?

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