A: Planning ahead is the right idea! Sometimes pregnancy happens despite our best efforts. Fortunately, there are many safe & effective methods to prevent or respond to an unplanned pregnancy. And many of them are available via telemedicine and online shopping. Here’s a how-to guide to the ABC’s of planning ahead.
The important thing is to consider your options now and have them on hand before you need them.
Because even if you are using birth control, the unexpected can happen. Pills get forgotten, condoms break, and sometimes people end up having sex when they didn’t plan on it—or even want to. Whether you need birth control, emergency contraception, or medication abortion, there are providers and services out there just a click away. But many of these services are not available instantly.
Plan A: Contraception/Birth Control
IUDs, implants and injections are the most effective birth control methods. They give you the best long-term protection, and they are reversible when you no longer need them. You’ll need to visit a clinic in-person to access these methods, so plan in advance and make an appointment.
Birth control pills, patches, or rings (hormonal methods) are also good options if you use them correctly and consistently. You need a prescription, so visit a clinic or have a telehealth visit with a provider. Be sure to ask for a prescription for the whole year. It should be written for 13 cycles (or 17 cycles if you are skipping the period weeks). A pharmacy or online service can sell you one or more cycles at a time.
Over-the-counter birth control products (like spermicides, sponges, condoms, or emergency contraceptives) are available in any pharmacy or online without a prescription. And while they are not as effective as the above methods, they can still give good protection and are easy to get. Stock up before you need them.
How to buy birth control online
If you need a prescription for your birth control method (the pill, ring, or patch), some services offer telemedicine with a licensed healthcare provider who can help you find birth control that is right for you. (See below for some recommended sites.)
If you already have a prescription for birth control, you can get your supplies delivered directly to you every month from these same services. Some have age restrictions, some accept insurance, and some deliver only to select states–so read through the options carefully. It’s worth doing some research before choosing a service provider. Look at the Google reviews for how reliable the service is. We have listed some trusted sites below.
Plan B: Emergency Contraception
Emergency contraception pills, or morning-after pills, can prevent a pregnancy from happening after unprotected sex if they are taken within 3 days. But they work best if you take them as soon after unprotected sex as possible, such as when a condom breaks. You don’t have to wait until the morning after!
Emergency contraception pills are available in any drug store, pharmacy, or online from many vendors. No prescription is needed. Emergency contraception works by preventing ovulation from happening, but once the egg pops out from your ovary, the pill can not stop the pregnancy from happening. So buy it in advance and have it right there where you need it, before you need
Plan C: Ending a Pregnancy
Sometimes, even when we have planned ahead and used birth control, pregnancy happens. If you would not want to continue a pregnancy at this time in your life, that’s where Plan C comes in. In-clinic abortions are not available in all states, and not readily available in some places where it has not been banned. An alternative that is easier to access (with some planning) is abortion pills. The sooner in pregnancy you use the abortion pill, the more likely it will be effective and the easier it will be on your body.
You can buy abortion pills ahead of time. You can also buy medication for abortion online in advance, and it will be delivered in unlabeled packaging. Some services can only serve some states, but if do your research, you can find a source that delivers to your state. The abortion pill is available in all 50 states when ordered from reputable European services, but it can take three weeks to arrive. Some states will soon start providing telemedicine and abortion pills to all 50 states.
If you have access to a health provider you trust, they can also be a source of guidance in making your backup plans. At the time of this writing, in most states patients can not be prosecuted for being in possession of abortion medication. Check the most recent laws in the state where you live, especially if abortion is banned. And don’t rely on hearsay—there are tons of falsehoods flying about what is and what isn’t banned.
Plan ahead and stay safe!
“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.” ~ Robert Frost
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