Does my weight affect which emergency contraception I can use?

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A lot of you asked us:

Is it true that Plan B isn’t effective for women who weigh 176 pounds, and it becomes less effective at 165? What other emergency contraception options are there?

We’re working to make sure that everyone has all of the information they need in order to decide what’s best for them when it comes to emergency contraception. Let’s break down the facts:

What’s emergency contraception (EC)?

Emergency contraception (also called the morning-after pill) is birth control that you can use up to 5 days after unprotected sex (like if you don’t use a condom or forget to take your pills, for example).

There are a few different kinds of emergency contraception:

  • There are two different types of EC pills:
  • Ulipristal acetate, known by the brand name ella
  • You need a prescription from a nurse or doctor to get ella
  • Levonorgestrel pills, including the brands Next Choice One Dose, My Way, and Plan B One-Step
  • Plan B One-Step is available at drugstores over the counter, without a prescription for anyone, regardless of gender or age.
  • The sooner levonorgestrel pills are taken after unprotected sex, the better they work.

Why is Plan B One-Step in the news?

It was recently announced that in Europe, a method of emergency contraception which is identical to Plan B One-Step pills is now going to include information on the label stating that these pills are less effective in people over 165 pounds and may not be effective in people over 175 pounds. This label change was based on analysis of a 2011 study.

I weigh more than 175 pounds. What are my options for EC?

The most effective option for people of any weight is getting a ParaGard IUD inserted by a nurse or doctor. If you’d rather take a pill, you can take ella. Weight can also be a factor for ella effectiveness: If you have a body mass index (BMI) that’s higher than 35, it’s less effective (but still worth a shot if you can’t get an IUD). Click here to learn more about ella.

If the IUD or ella aren’t options for you and you weigh more than 175 pounds, it’s perfectly safe to take Plan B One-Step or Next Choice One Dose—but it may not work for you.

How do I get ella?

You need a prescription from a nurse or doctor to get ella. You can also consult with a doctor through the ella website and get it delivered to you the next day. (You need to have a credit card and be 18 to order it online.)

When it comes to weight and effectiveness of emergency contraception, more study is needed but, until then, if you weigh more than 165 and need EC, ella and the ParaGard IUD are your best bet. If you need EC and have questions about which EC method is best for you, contact your local Planned Parenthood health center.

-Chelsea at Planned Parenthood

I’m a trans man who wants a birth control method that gets rid of my periods and doesn’t contain estrogen. Whatcha got for me?

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Someone asked us:

Hi. I’m a trans man, but I can’t afford to go on testosterone yet. My menstrual cycle really bothers me, and I may start having sex with men soon, but the estrogen in birth control pills (and the symptoms that result ‘cuz of that) makes that really, REALLY not an option I want to take. Is there any method of birth control that does not contain estrogen? Preferably one that also gets rid of periods? (Preferably one that’s also likely to be covered by my crappy insurance?)

Believe it or not, you have a lot of options to choose from!

There are quite a few hormonal birth control options that don’t contain estrogen. These “progestin-only” methods include: the implant (Implanon or Nexplanon), hormonal IUDs (Mirena or Skyla), the shot (Depo Provera), and even some kinds of birth control pills.

Many of these methods have been shown to lessen menstrual bleeding – and sometimes even eliminate it (though it’s common to have some spotting, especially for the first few months). Speak with your nurse or doctor to figure out which of these options fits your needs best.

And let’s not forget about the good ol’ condom. Condoms are the only way to protect yourself from STDs as well as pregnancy, so it’s a great idea to use them even if you’re also on another form of birth control.

Under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), most types of birth control are now covered by insurance. Learn more

I hope this helps!

-Mylanie at Planned Parenthood

anonymous said:

I know this is a stupid question, but I'm 17 and I was wondering if I'm to young to get an IUD? would it be better to start with something else? I get really bad cramps (to the point where I have to lay down all day) and I really just want to stop my period for a while.

I’m so glad you asked this question!! I swear friends, this wasn’t a plant.

The reason why I’m so pumped is because the American Academy of Pediatrics just came out with a statement promoting the use of Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs) as the FIRST LINE contraceptive for teens.

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WHATT????  DID YOU FOLKS JUST HEAR THAT?

Let me say it again: the American Academy of Pediatrics says that the very first type of birth control teens should use is one of the following:

  • The Mirena IUD (5 years)
  • The Skyla IUD (3 years)
  • The Copper IUD (12 years)
  • The Nexplanon Implant (3 years)

The IUD isn’t “going overboard” for someone who is just starting birth control, it’s one of the best options.  

Read the whole statement here, and an article about it here.

So why are they making this statement?

  • LARCs are the most effective (don’t we all want to prevent unwanted teen pregnancies?)
  • LARCs are the safest (they have much lower rates of blood clots than pills, patch, or ring.)
  • LARCs are the easiest to remember (no pill to take every day for teens who wake up at radically different times of day)
  • LARCs are the cheapest (they are covered through Obamacare by all insurance companies and don’t need to be purchased each month or picked up from the pharmacy once every three months)

So go for it! Make an appointment with your healthcare practitioner and talk to them about which LARC is best for you, and get one inserted ASAP!

<3 Chloë

Yesterday I went to Planned Parenthood to get my Mirena IUD, and I have a feeling I won’t be going anywhere else for my lady parts healthcare! The staff is incredible. The nurse, nurse practitioner, and observing med student were fantastic. I was really anxious, because I’d read stories about horribly painful IUD insertions, so I asked if someone could hold my hand. The nurse that did my vitals came in and held my hand and talked to me about my day. There were uncomfortable parts to it but she just kept letting me squeeze my hand and reminded me to breathe. And in 5 minutes it was over. And now I have worry free birth control for 5 years. Holla! 

I’ve always been impressed with P.P. the 3 times I’ve been. They were there when I initially wanted birth control at 17, again when I went in for my IUD consult, and they were there when I was getting my IUD. I have not actually gotten to sit down with an GYN for more than 10 minutes to discuss my contraceptive options, but I got to spend almost 45 minutes with an NP during my consult. 

Love that place! 

The 7 Best Lines From Ginsburg's Dissent on the Hobby Lobby Contraception Decision

1) “The exemption sought by Hobby Lobby and Conestoga would…deny legions of women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage”


2) “Religious organizations exist to foster the interests of persons subscribing to the same religious faith. Not so of for-profit corporations. Workers who sustain the operations of those corporations commonly are not drawn from one religious community.”

3) “Any decision to use contraceptives made by a woman covered under Hobby Lobby’s or Conestoga’s plan will not be propelled by the Government, it will be the woman’s autonomous choice, informed by the physician she consults.”

4) “It bears note in this regard that the cost of an IUD is nearly equivalent to a month’s full-time pay for workers earning the minimum wage.”

5) “Would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.”

6) “Approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another,’ the very ‘risk the [Constitution’s] Establishment Clause was designed to preclude.”

7) “The court, I fear, has ventured into a minefield.”

Read the full dissent here

anonymous said:

I really hate getting my period. Everything about it. I heard that many birth control options make periods light--some even making periods disappear completely. My question is, is it safe to completely stop having your period? I know it's a natural bodily function, but I don't plan on having kids now or in the future so I'm not really worried about it affecting my fertility.

Yes!  It’s perfectly healthy.

Let me explain:  During your normal menstrual cycle, you have estrogen telling your uterine lining to build up, up, up.  Then, you have progesterone telling your uterine lining to shed.  Some people have PCOS or other hormonal dysfunctions where the estrogen tells the uterine lining to build up but there’s no progesterone to tell it to shed.  In that situation the uterine lining will keep building up with nothing keeping it fresh or keeping it from accidentally becoming cancerous.  That’s what we’re worried about in this situation - the un-moderated uterine lining becoming a space where cancer cells can proliferate uncontrollably.

However, birth control uses those hormones to trick the body into doing certain things.  For example, a consistant low dose of progesterone stops you from building up a uterine lining in the first place.  That means that when you’re using the mini-pill, Nexplanon, Depo shot, Mirena, or Skyla IUD, you’re not even building up a uterine lining at all, making it so that there’s nothing to shed during your period, so no period bleeding.  Yay!

You don’t have to worry about cancer with those birth control options, because there’s no unmediated proliferating happening to begin with.

And the beautiful thing?  None of them affect your fertility at all.

So how to you stop getting a period?

  • Take your birth control pills continuously - that means skip the placebo or “sugar” pill.  Take only the pills with hormones
  • Use your nuvaring for 4 weeks straight and then switch to another without a “period” week
  • Get a Mirena or Skyla IUD
  • Cross your fingers and get a Nexplanon or use Depo
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