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Women's Health

Can I Use the Morning After Pill Before Sex?

09/12/2010

Question:

I am sexually active and I don`t use condom with my partner and I am not on OC. I use natural method to prevent pregnancy but if I suspect that the method fails, then I use morning after pill. I wonder if I can take morning after pill before the intercourse rather than after it and if this is possible, is it still effective within 3 days after I take the pill (I mean can I have sex any time within 3 days after taking this medicine without concern about pregnancy?) and is there a limitation on the frequency of taking this medicine? (i.e maximum not to exceed 3 times a month...etc.)

Answer:

The currently marketed emergency contraceptives have only been tested as post coital (after intercourse) pills. They are not intended for use before intercourse. They are also not as effective as continuous use of an oral contraceptives.

A more effective approach to avoid pregnancy would be to use condoms consistently if you have sex during the time that you are likely to conceive, in conjunction with natural family planning. Alternatively, you could consistently use another method of contraception like pills or an IUD. There is no maximum number of times you can use emergency contraceptive pills, but remember they only prevent pregnancy about 75% of the time with each act of intercourse.

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Response by:

Lisa M Keder, MD, MPH Lisa M Keder, MD, MPH
Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University