Emergency contraception lowers the chance of becoming pregnant if your birth control fails or if you have unprotected sex. Bridgercare offers two kinds, and determining the method that is right for you depends your Body Mass Index (BMI). For this reason, if you call the front desk or come to the clinic, the front desk will ask you for your height and weight.
What are the options?
PlanB (or “Fallback Solo”) is effective if used within 72 hours (3 days) of unprotected vaginal intercourse with a BMI of 25 or less. It works by delaying or preventing ovulation, and slowing the movement of the egg and/or sperm so that fertilization cannot occur. It reduces the chance of pregnancy by 52% to 100% depending on when during the menstrual cycle the unprotected intercourse occurred and how long afterwards the PlanB was taken. It can fail to prevent pregnancy in some cases because a fertilized egg has already implanted in the uterus, it’s been more than three days since unprotected intercourse, or because the individual taking the medication has a BMI over 25.
Ella is the most effective emergency contraceptive and the only effective emergency contraception for someone with a BMI higher than 25, or a weight of more than 165 pounds. It is slightly more effective than Plan B for all women if unprotected sex or birth control failure occurred 72 hours or more before use. Ella can be used if unprotected intercourse has occurred within the past 120 hours (5 days), and works by blocking the uptake of progestin to stop or delay the release of an egg from the ovary. It may also work by preventing attachment of the egg to the uterus. Ella is 62-85% effective depending on when during the menstrual cycle the unprotected intercourse took place, and may fail to prevent pregnancy if a fertilized egg has already implanted in the uterus or more than 5 days have passed since unprotected intercourse.
What should I know about emergency contraception?
Emergency contraceptive methods do not cause abortion. With both methods, they are more effective the sooner they are taken. Your period should begin within 3-4 weeks of taking emergency contraception. If your period doesn’t start or is lighter or heavier than normal, or if you are experiencing pregnancy symptoms, do or a home pregnancy test or schedule an appointment at Bridgercare (pregnancy test visits are free of charge). Emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections, so if you think you may be at risk for STIs, you should talk to your provider about getting tested. Additionally, it is important to discuss a more reliable form of ongoing birth control if you are at risk of unintended pregnancy. Ask your provider about other birth control methods that would work for you.
PlanB is available over-the-counter for a price of $32 at Bridgercare. Over-the-counter prescriptions are not available on our sliding fee scale, so if cost is a concern, please call the clinic at (406) 587-0681 and the front desk will be happy to discuss options. Ella is not an over-the-counter medication, so an appointment is necessary. Walk-ins are welcome for this kind of appointment. You can also schedule online or call the front desk as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse.