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Can You Still Become Pregnant If You Used Ella After Sex?

Ella is a form of emergency contraception. It is often taken to prevent an unexpected pregnancy if your birth control method failed, or if you’ve had unprotected sex. While Ella may reduce your chances of becoming pregnant, certain situations can decrease its effectiveness. When contemplating what type of contraceptive to use, it’s not uncommon to have questions about how they work. Are you looking for answers about Ella? Or are you concerned about a possible pregnancy? It can be helpful to seek information from a reliable resource.

Are you looking for clarification on emergency contraception methods, or do you think there’s a chance you might be pregnant? Avenue Women’s Center has served women in the Chicagoland area since 1981, and our expert staff is trained to ensure you have answers to your valid questions. We’ll walk you through the steps of taking a free, medical-grade pregnancy test, and supply you with accurate information about birth control and your options.

Contact us today for confidential support from any of our six locations in Darien, Elmhurst, Glen Ellyn / Lombard, Naperville, West Chicago, Wood Dale, Illinois.

How Does Ella Work?

Typically, Ella will delay or halt the release of an egg from your ovaries. This usually works to prevent your partner’s sperm from coming into contact with one of your eggs. Ella will generally keep ovulation from happening for 5 days. It works by thickening your vaginal fluid to block sperm and altering the wall of your uterus to stop it from attaching. Since this is classified as an emergency contraceptive, it’s not recommended that you use it as a regular form of birth control.

It’s still not certain if taking Ella will increase your risk of miscarriage. However, it’s not expected that Ella will protect you and your partner from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

When Should Ella Be Taken?

In order to decrease the possibility of an unexpected pregnancy, Ella generally needs to be taken within 120 hours (5 days) of you having sexual intercourse.  Ella can typically be taken at any time of your menstrual cycle. You may need to contact a doctor if you find yourself vomiting within 3 hours of taking the pill.

What Can Reduce Ella’s Effective? Are There Side Effects?

Ella may not work as well for women with a body mass index over 30, or if you’re taking certain medications. Abstaining from sex is the only type of birth control with a 100% effectiveness rate. But some couples have utilized barrier contraceptives to reduce the risk of pregnancy.

Some women have reported experiencing changes in their period after taking Ella. Other side effects may include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, and abdominal pain. If any of these complications persist, you may need to consult a doctor or seek medical attention.

I Think I’m Pregnant Despite Using Ella. What Should I Do?

If you think you might be pregnant after taking emergency contraception, a helpful first step is to confirm the pregnancy. A test can be taken with a doctor or at a pregnancy center. There, you can then receive further information about your health and potential decisions.

Before committing to one of your choices, you can gather more information regarding the pregnancy during an ultrasound exam. This can lead to early detection of possible complications, such as a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. Either of these conditions will require you to seek medical treatment. So, ruling them out as soon as you can is often important to your health.

While the news of an unexpected pregnancy may have come as a shock, try to take things one at a time. There are resources to guide you through the steps of making a plan and ensure you have a clear picture of your options. The changes this situation may have brought can seem overwhelming at first, but you are not without support.

Do you suspect you may be pregnant after taking emergency contraception? Avenue Women’s Center can answer your questions. We’ll also make sure you have accurate information about your choices. Through a private consultation, our staff will listen to your concerns and provide clarification about birth control, abortion, adoption, and parenting. We’re prepared to offer you limited medical services and referrals to ensure you have access to the resources you may need.

Schedule your free appointment with us today!



Reviewed by Patricia Kuenzi, APN-CNP, MSN, ANP, PNP.

The information provided here is general in nature.  It is not a substitute for a consultation with a medical professional. Before any medical procedure, it is imperative that you discuss your personal medical history, risks, and concerns with your doctor. If you have questions during or after a procedure, your doctor should be immediately contacted. Avenue Women’s Center is not an emergency center.  If you are experiencing severe symptoms, such as bleeding and/or pain, seek immediate medical attention.  Contact your physician, go to an emergency room, or call 911.