B I R T H
C O N T R O L:
If you're going to have sex, you need a plan that includes protection against STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) and unwanted pregnancy. If you have unprotected sex, there is nothing you can do, after the fact, to protect you from an STD. However, there is something you can do, after the fact, to protect you from an unwanted pregnancy.
Because emergency contraception has very heavy side effects, including severe cramps and nausea, it should never be used in place of planned protection before sex. There are lots of birth control options available. Check them make them out, find out which is right for you and your partner, and always include them in your plans.
But what if something happened and you weren't protected during sex? You've got an emergency. It might be that:
Don't wait to find out if you've missed your period. Don't wait at all! There is no such thing as being "a little pregnant." Besides, emergency contraception methods only work within 72 hours after unprotected sex. And they are more effective within 12-24 hours. So pick up the telephone and call your doctor (if you've got one you can talk to comfortably). Otherwise call your Planned Parenthood clinic, other women's health and family planning center, or use one of the contacts listed below.
The folks at the other end of the phone will tell you about the two methods of emergency contraception:
These methods are only used if a woman is sure she wasn't already pregnant at the time she had unprotected sex. They work by preventing fertilization of an egg or implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. They will not cause an abortion (the termination of an already existing pregnancy).
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last updated November 19, 2005
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