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Emergency Contraception

If you forget to take your birth control pills, have a condom break during intercourse, or have unprotected sex for other reasons (including sexual assault), you now have a back-up method of protecting against pregnancy. Called "emergency contraception," this also has several other names: "postcoital contraception," "the morning after pill," and "Plan B," which is the brand name of one of the medications used for emergency contraception. Using emergency contraception should NOT be confused with taking medicine to induce an abortion, which is a very different medication and process.

Emergency contraception is a method of birth control to be used occasionally, in specific emergency situations, and not as a primary form of birth control.

Get It Before You Need It

Even though emergency contraception is available without a prescription, it is not always easy to get to a pharmacy when you need to take the pills. As a result, Women First recommends that you get the pills needed for emergency contraception ahead of time, before you may need them, and keep them with you. This is important because the pills are most effective when used shortly after unprotected sex—within hours—but the pills can be used up to 5 days.

For more information about emergency contraception, click here.

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