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The Truth About Taking the Morning-After Pill If You Weigh More Than 175 Pounds

On the first episode of Shrill, the new Hulu show starring and cowritten by SNL’s Aidy Bryant and author Lindy West (who wrote the memoir on which the series is based), Aidy’s character Annie discovers she’s pregnant despite taking the morning-after pill soon after unprotected sex. Puzzled, she asks a pharmacist why the emergency contraception didn’t work for her. The pharmacist drops a bombshell: the morning-after pill isn’t effective for people over 175 pounds.

This had the editorial staff at POPSUGAR curious: Is this true? As someone who has taken Plan B several times throughout her life (although I think this had more to do with my anxiety than me actually needing it), I had never heard this caveat to emergency contraception. And since I’m the health point person (and an inquisitive fitness editor), I decided to investigate.

What Is the Morning-After Pill?

Emergency contraception (commonly referred to as the morning-after pill) reduces the risk of becoming pregnant after unprotected sex. It’s available in three pill forms: Ulipristal (sold under the brand name Ella), which delays or prevents ovulation when taken within five days of unprotected sex and is available only with a prescription. There are also progestin-only pills (levonorgestrel, sold under the brand names Plan B One-Step, My Way, and Next Choice One Dose), and combination pills. Another form of emergency contraception is having a copper IUD inserted as soon as possible after unprotected sex, but no more than five days after.

Can You Take the Morning-After Pill If You Weigh More Than 175 Pounds?

“Data suggests that certain formulations of emergency contraception are less effective at BMIs above 30,” Cherie Richey, MD, an ob-gyn at Columbus Women’s Care in Columbus, OH told POPSUGAR. Although BMI isn’t the best benchmark for health, it is calculated by using a BMI chart based on height and weight. She explained that Ulipristal is more effective than levonorgestrel for women with a BMI over 30, as a 2016 review found, but the copper IUD is one form of emergency contraception that’s not affected by weight.

Despite this, in 2016, the FDA concluded the data is not strong enough to suggest that emergency contraception will be completely ineffective for women over 165 pounds. “There are no safety concerns that preclude use of levonorgestrel-containing emergency contraceptives [Plan B One-Step] in women generally, and the FDA continues to believe all women, regardless of how much they weigh, can use these products to prevent unintended pregnancy following unprotected sexual intercourse or contraceptive failure,” the FDA declared, and stated that the most important factor in emergency contraception effectiveness is how soon it’s taken after unprotected sex.

What People Should Know Before Taking the Morning-After Pill

Dr. Richey said many doctors will recommend Ulipristal (Ella) over other oral emergency contraception options, especially for women over 175 pounds; the biggest caveat is that using Ulipristal requires a prescription. She added that copper IUDs are the most effective emergency contraception option over everything else, but it’s harder to obtain a copper IUD within the proper time frame (within five days) unless you have a trusted doctor you can readily call. Plus, there’s the cost factor if you don’t have insurance to pay for it.

Bottom line: No matter which form of emergency contraception you use, Dr. Richey emphasized using it as soon as possible after unprotected sex. That’s within 72 hours (three days) to use levonorgestrel (Plan B One-Step); after that, effectiveness significantly decreases. Ulipristal can be used up to 120 hours (five days) after unprotected sex, and your weight is less likely to have an impact.

“Essentially, if you are pushing your window of opportunity to use emergency contraception and you are not under 165 pounds, you may want to pick up the phone and call your ob-gyn to get a prescription sent to your pharmacy for Ulipristal (Ella),” she said. “Or better yet, prepare for the unexpected and get the prescription in advance when you come in for your annual exam so you have it when you need it.”

Ideally, if you are planning that far in advance, you should talk to your doctor about more effective, long-term contraception options such as birth control pills, a birth control implant, IUD, or something else that works with your lifestyle. It will be much more effective than emergency contraception. After all, it’s called “emergency” for a reason.

Finding Fitness Plans From Your Favorite Trainers Just Got Easier

We want to introduce you to Glow, our new marketplace where you can shop for an impressive variety fitness and wellness content created by your favorite trainers and health experts. Buy workout videos, meal plans, and fitness guides to help you feel great from the inside out! Whether you’re in the mood for motivation from Love Sweat Fitness, a celebrity-level sweat with Jeanette Jenkins, or a low-impact LIT Method session with Justin and Taylor Norris, there’s a workout for everyone. Shop by trainer, program type, or your exercise goals, and then get ready to get at it! Explore Glow now.

If You're Working Out Twice a Day, This Is What a Trainer Wants You to Know

As soon as people find out that I’m a trainer, they decide it’s time to play 21 questions. I get asked a variety of things, like what I eat, how I train, what I think about trendy diets, how to get stronger arms, and the list goes on.

Another question I get asked a lot is if I think it’s bad to work out twice a day. Technically speaking, no, it’s not bad and you won’t get in trouble, but I don’t advise it for the general population. Why? First and foremost, I think it’s possible for you to achieve whatever goal you may have by working out smart and once per day.

My second reason is because I don’t think people do enough when it comes to recovery and nutrition in order for the body to perform well and sustain two-a-days. Yes, physically it can be done, but without eating enough to fuel your body and doing necessary recovery work to keep your body performing at a high level, the two-a-days will only lead to burnout, fatigue, and injury.

With that being said, in my opinion, there are two exceptions to doing two-a-days. The first is that you’re either a collegiate or professional athlete. This is because essentially your job is to perform at the best of your ability. Not to mention, these athletes have access to world-class facilities, doctors, dietitians, physical therapists, and coaches who all have the same goal of keeping the athlete as healthy as possible while maintaining a high performance level. The other exception is if you’re doing one intense workout paired with some form of a recovery workout like yoga. In my opinion, this is fine because you aren’t putting too much stress on your body.

Instead of doing two-a-days, I think you can get in shape and stay strong working out once a day. For example, you can do an intense strength training session on Monday, followed by a fun Spin class on Tuesday, rest on Wednesday, and so on. So to answer the question, if your recovery game and nutrition aren’t on point, you more than likely shouldn’t work out twice in a single day. Instead, I recommended creating a weekly workout plan (or asking a trainer to make one for you) so that you feel more prepared and can get the most out of your workouts.

If you’re looking for something more long-term, get started with this four-week workout plan to get back in shape and build muscle.

Katelyn Ohashi's New Floor Routine Features All Female Artists, 'Cause Who Runs the World?

Katelyn Ohashi is at it again! The 21-year-old UCLA gymnast continues to impress fans with her unbelievable skills and “perfect ten” moves, and now she’s ready to show off a new routine. Katelyn plans to show off her updated floor exercises at the PAC-12 Championships on March 23, and she’ll be using a soundtrack of all-female artists.

Katelyn told ESPN she really wanted to perform a “women’s empowerment” routine, and finally had the opportunity to change things up after finals. She rose to fame with her Michael Jackson dance moves, but Katelyn admitted that the outcry following HBO’s Leaving Neverland documentary affected her decision to cut his influence from her choreography.

“The goal of my routine is pure joy, and after the documentary, not everyone was feeling that way, and you can never discredit someone’s feelings,” Katelyn said, according to ESPN.

She decided to keep the music from Tina Turner and Janet Jackson in her routine, and added in some Beyoncé as well. These kind of updates to a routine may seem like a lot of painstaking effort, but Katelyn said it took an hour-and-a-half to create the choreography. Yeah, she really is that badass! Get a behind-the-scenes sneak peek of her moves in the video above.

The Mediterranean Diet Makes a Strong Case That the Right Bread Can Actually Be Good For You

There’s so much to love about the Mediterranean diet, from the long list of foods you can enjoy to its emphasis on community. (Wine with friends? Sure.) But there might be nothing more satisfying than this: there’s really nothing that’s off-limits on the Mediterranean diet, including carbs like bread.

That said, you do have to be choosy, always reaching for whole grains over refined grains. “Whole grains imply that the entire grain kernel is still intact. Refined grains, on the other hand, have been stripped of key nutrients by way of a process called milling,” Mary Claire Shurina, RD, told POPSUGAR. This distinction is important because “whole grains have fiber, which slows down digestion to maintain steady blood sugar control. They also provide essential vitamins and minerals like B vitamins, magnesium, zinc, and copper,” she said.

These key nutrients can play a big role in reducing your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and certain cancers, all of which are considered protective benefits of the Mediterranean diet — one reason it’s consistently ranked as the best diet out there, both for weight loss and overall health.

As you can see, all breads are not created equal. So the next time you shop for groceries, do a little nutrition-label sleuthing. “When choosing bread, look for ‘100 percent whole grain’ or ‘100 percent whole wheat’ on the package,” Mary advised. These whole grains can include wheat, oats, flax, buckwheat, or rye, and they should be the very first ingredient listed on the label. Ezekiel bread is a favorite because it is made with sprouted grains and no added sugars. You could also stop by the bakery for a fresh sourdough loaf or bake your own.

Once you get that bread home, there are plenty of flavorful ways to incorporate it into your Mediterranean diet. Try starting your day with a couple slices of avocado toast, add some crunchy whole-grain croutons to your lunchtime salad, or serve up a tomato-topped bruschetta with salmon and veggies for dinner.

Walmart's Running Sneakers Are Almost Too Good to Be True – Starting at $25

If you’re in the market for a new pair of running sneakers, there’s one retailer worth shopping: Walmart. The affordable store carries so many names you know and love for great prices. To make finding your match easy, we uncovered its 11 best picks ahead. From brands like New Balance to Asics, keep reading to shop our favorites.

I Tried a Menstrual Cup For the First Time, and It Was a Revelation

One of my goals in life is achieving peak period comfort. I don’t mean avoiding cramps or PMS, which I’ve accepted as an inevitable part of my life. I just want to be as comfortable as possible while keeping all that fluid under control.

I got my period at age 12 and began using tampons almost immediately. Since then, it’s been a constant struggle: I hate pads and I can’t stand dealing with leakage or other unpleasantness, like tampons that slip out when I sneeze. Having a period is bad enough; I’d like to have as few reminders as possible that it’s happening, which is why I can’t believe it took me this long to try a menstrual cup.

Last month, I had the pleasure of testing Tampon Tribe’s new menstrual cup ($40), which is silicone- and rubber-free. I was already a fan of Tampon Tribe’s applicator-free tampon subscription, so I trusted the brand when it suggested I try this cup. Menstrual cups are nothing new, but they’ve always intimidated me, which I now realize was silly. Read on to learn why I’m a convert.

It's Officially Spring – Before You Go For a Run Outside, Take These Allergists' Advice

If you live in a part of the country that experiences heavy snow and frigid Winter temperatures, you’ve probably been counting down the days until Spring would arrive in all its flowery glory. But the second you step outside for a run, you’re met with another reality. With those sunny days come seasonal allergies — symptoms that are only made worse when you’re huffing and puffing through a thick haze of pollen.

Fortunately, there are ways to work around it. “Pollen counts are typically higher in the morning, from 5 to 10 a.m., so waiting until the afternoon and evening may be more helpful to reduce exposure,” David Erstein, MD, a board-certified allergist and immunologist in New York City, told POPSUGAR. You can also check the pollen count in your area with a quick google search and limit your time outside on days when allergens are most severe.

“It’s also helpful to avoid running on windy days as the pollens tend to be whisked around and can affect a sufferer more,” Dr. Erstein said. “You may find more relief running after a good rain shower which helps to wash away the pollens suspended in the air.”

If antihistamines help to relieve your symptoms, you can also try taking one up to an hour before your run to alleviate any discomfort you’d feel during your workout, Lakiea Wright, MD, a board-certified physician in internal medicine and allergy and immunology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the medical director at Thermo Fisher Scientific in Boston, told POPSUGAR.

Running with eyewear such as sunglasses can also help prevent itchy, watery eyes, and if you’re up for it, a mask or bandana over your nose and mouth can limit the amount of pollen that makes its way into your respiratory passages.

Finally, be sure to change out of your workout clothes and shower as soon as you get home from a run. Pollen sticks to you, only prolonging your exposure to allergens, Dr. Erstein explained — just one reason allergy symptoms tend to worsen at night.

I'm a Personal Trainer, and This Is How to Start Lifting Heavy Weights

Whether you’ve been lifting weights for years or you’re just getting started, you’re probably wondering when you should increase the amount of weight you’re lifting. A great indicator that you should select heavier weights is if you never feel fatigued after completing multiple sets of a particular exercise. For instance, if you know you can easily do more than 12 reps of a weight without being fatigued, you should increase the weight.

As you continue reading, you’ll see that there are three different training phases addressed, each with instructions on how to increase your strength. To determine how much weight you should be lifting during each phase, you’ll need to know what your one-rep max (1RM) is. This is the maximum amount weight you can lift for any given exercise with proper form. If your 1RM for barbell squats is 75 pounds, in the strength endurance phase, you would be lifting between 37.50 and 52.50 pounds whenever you perform barbell squats. Here are some tips to help you along the way.

Have a Strength Foundation

Before you begin to squat 200 pounds, you must train your body to be able to handle that load. Having a solid strength foundation will ensure that you have stability, muscular endurance, muscular coordination, and proper form. Without this, attempting to lift heavy will only put you at risk for injury.

Learn the Basics

Some basic movements to focus on to increase your strength are:

There is no standard weight to begin with, as everyone’s strength levels will vary. If you’re new to lifting, begin lifting just the bar to become familiar with the movement pattern, and then increase the weight by 10 pounds.

Train in Phases

Training for strength can be broken down into the following phases: strength endurance, hypertrophy (increasing the size of the muscle), and maximal strength.

  • Strength endurance training: This phase promotes increased stabilization endurance, hypertrophy, and strength. In this phase, your rep and set range will be: one to three sets of 12 to 20 reps at 50 to 70 percent of your one-rep max. Stay in this phase for four to six weeks and then progress to hypertrophy training.
  • Hypertrophy training:This phase is specific for adaptation of maximal muscle growth. It focuses on high volume (heavy weight) and minimal rest periods, causing cellular changes to increase muscle size. In this phase, your rep and set range will be: three to five sets of six to 12 reps at 75 to 85 percent of your one-rep max. Stay in this phase for four weeks. From there, you can either go back to the strength endurance phase or advance to maximal strength training.
  • Maximal strength training: This phase focuses on increasing the load placed on the tissues of the body and improves the rate of force production. The goal in this stage is achieving maximal strength. For this phase, your rep and set range will be: four to six sets of one to five reps at 85 to 100 percent of your one-rep max.

Be Consistent

Training for strength takes time — literally months! You’ll want to spend the necessary amount of time in each phase to ensure that your muscles are reaping the benefits of the particular phase. In general, it will take anywhere from eight to 12 weeks to see an increase in your strength.

Recover

Because your body will be experiencing a lot of stress, in order to improve muscular growth and strength, you’re going to need to become religious with recovery work. This means eating properly, eating protein, improving your mobility, foam rolling, stretching, and sleeping.

10 Quick and Healthy Vegetarian Dinners You Can Make With These Trader Joe's Staples

When you come home from work, you probably want to spend less time cooking and more time eating. But before you inhale an entire bag of corn chips with guac and call it dinner (not that there’s anything wrong with that, but you deserve an actual home-cooked meal!), Trader Joe’s has your back. Here are some quick, healthy, and satisfying meal ideas you can whip up in about 20 minutes, thanks to the amazing products you can find at your local Trader Joe’s (many of them from the freezer section). If you keep your kitchen stocked, you can make one of these fast and delicious dinners ASAP.

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