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What are Emergency Contraceptives?

How The Morning After Pill Prevents a Pregnancy

Emergency contraception, also known as the morning after pill, is a high dose of birth control pills that must be taken within five days of unprotected sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy. The sooner it is taken, the more effective it is. Emergency contraception (EC) is not to be confused with RU-486 (mifepristone), a pill that causes medical abortion in pregnant women within 49 days from the first day of their last menstrual period.

The emergency contraception is available from pharmacists or at clinics. It may be one or two tablets. They may work in several ways: they delay or inhibit the release of an egg (ovulation), prevent the egg and the sperm from meeting (fertilization) or stop a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall (implantation).

If you you don’t get your period within three weeks should visit a health care provider and take a pregnancy test.

You should know that any emergency contraception pill/pills are not regular contraception and it is an emergency measure only that can have serious and unpleasant side effects. It does not protect you against any sexually transmitted diseases. Think of it as an emergency backup -- not for routine use. The morning after pill is not intended to be used as a regular form of birth control.

Emergency contraceptive pills can stop a pregnancy from happening if taken up to five days after unprotected sex. You can get them at a pharmacy or a health facility.


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