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Home » Medical » Contraception » Emergency Contraception

Emergency Contraception

»  Emergency Contraceptive Pills »  Intra Uterine Device

Making unexpected decisions about health issues is often difficult; decision-making around an unplanned pregnancy is no different. For many women, an unplanned pregnancy can be one of the first times that they have had to deal with a decision about their health and the course of their life. Emergency Contraception, or Emergency Birth Control, is used to help keep a woman from getting pregnant after she has had unprotected sex. Emergency contraception can be used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse or the failure of another birth control method. Emergency contraception should not be used as regular birth control.

A woman is most likely to become pregnant if sexual intercourse occurs in the few days before or after ovulation (release of an egg from the ovary). Emergency contraceptives should not be used as a contraceptive method in women who are sexually active or planning to become sexually active. They are not as effective as any ongoing contraceptive method.

You may wish to consider Emergency Contraception if you :

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Expected your partner to pull out... but he didn't?


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Forgot to take several birth control pills


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Had a condom break, slip or come off


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Made love unexpectedly


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Unintentionally let "outer course" lead to intercourse without proper protection?

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Were forced to have unprotected vaginal sex

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Weren't using any form of birth control

How does Emergency Contraception work?

Emergency Contraception can keep you from becoming pregnant by:

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Keeping the egg from leaving the ovary


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Keeping the sperm from meeting the egg


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Keeping the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus (womb)


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If you are already pregnant, emergency contraception will NOT work.


Advantages of Emergency Contraception

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Emergency contraception is very effective if you use it correctly.


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Copper IUDs are 99% successful as a means of contraception.


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The copper IUD can be left in place as a future method of contraception, or removed after your next period.


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Alternative methods of contraception must be used for seven days before the IUD is removed as sperm can live inside the body for this length of time.


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If the emergency pill is taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex then approximately 19 out of 20 pregnancies can be prevented.


Disadvantages of Emergency Contraception

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The Emergency Pills becomes less effective the later you take it. For example, if you take it between 24-48 hours the number of possible pregnancies prevented decreases to 17 out of 20. After 72 hours and the chances of the emergency pill working are greatly reduced.


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The copper IUD is more effective than the emergency pill after 72 hours of unprotected sex as it actually prevents your ovulation.


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The emergency pill can occasionally cause vomiting. If this happens to you then the chances are that the pill may not have worked. In this situation a second tablet should be taken, or a copper IUD may be fitted.


Things to know about Emergency Contraception

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It doesn't cause an abortion.


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Almost every woman can use one of the methods if she acts in time.


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It can be used if you are breastfeeding.


Protection against STDs

Emergency Contraception does not protect against Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs). Couples having sex must always use condoms to protect against STDs even when using another method of birth control. Abstinence i.e. not having sex is the only method that always prevents pregnancy and STDs.


Cost of Emergency Contraception

Depending on the types of pills that are prescribed, the Emergency Contraceptive pills costs between $8 and $35. Many health insurance plans cover the cost of emergency contraception and family planning clinics may charge much less.