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Birth Control Overview (cont.)


A drug called mifepristone (also known as RU-486) can block a hormone called progesterone that is needed for pregnancy to continue, if an egg has been fertilized and implanted in your uterus. By taking this drug (and another one called misoprostol), a pregnancy can end if it has been 49 days or fewer since your last menstrual period.

These drugs are given only by a doctor and only by certain doctors who are trained to diagnose problems that may develop such as ectopic pregnancy. You will be asked to sign a statement indicating you understand you are ending a pregnancy.

Once you take on oral dose (pill taken by mouth) of mifepristone, you will be given misoprostol 2 days later to cause your uterus to contract and expel the embryo through the vagina.

You will experience cramping and bleeding, and you must return to your doctor a few times for examination. This method is not a preventive form of birth control. For more information on pregnancy termination, see Abortion.

Future Methods of Birth Control

Although development of new birth control methods in the United States has slowed in the past few years, research outside of the United States continues at a rapid pace. Many new birth control designs are being tested to provide a greater variety of methods with fewer side effects and that are safer and are more effective.

  • Pill for men: One exciting new development is a hormonal contraceptive method for men. The male birth control pill manipulates steroid hormones to decrease sperm development.
  • Injection for men: A reversible male birth control method, injections of progestin every 3 months suppressed sperm production in an Australian study. Because this hormone reduces a man's sex drive, implants were placed under the men's skin every 4 months.
  • Vaccine: A pregnancy vaccine is one of the most controversial and exciting forms of birth control under development. The pregnancy vaccine stimulates an immune response against sperm so that fertilization does not occur.

Medically reviewed by Wayne Blocker, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology


"Contraceptive counseling and selection"

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/24/2016
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