Quirky Questions: Do birth control pills work like Plan B?

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Question: To prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, can I take several birth control pills at once instead of the morning-after pill?

Answer: With very effective emergency contraception (Plan B One-Step) so readily available, typical oral contraceptive pills aren’t the preferred option to prevent pregnancy within 48 hours of unprotected sex. But if you can’t get Plan B, it is possible to prevent pregnancy by taking multiple birth control pills at once, which–when taken at the correct dosage–approximates the 1mg of levonorgestrel recommended for emergency contraception. So be sure to contact your provider for specific instructions before you pop those pills. And be aware that if you’re currently using a pill pack that contains estradiol plus levonorgestrel, the additional hormone can consequently increase your risk of significant nausea.

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The One Medical blog is published by One Medical, an innovative primary care practice with offices in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Phoenix, the San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle, and Washington, DC.