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Last modified: Monday, 19-Nov-2012 16:36:34 EST
Sexual Assault and Dating Violence What to do
Emergency contraception (EC), also known as "Plan B" or "the morning after pill," provides an opportunity to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. It may be taken up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected intercourse; however, the sooner the first dose is initiated, the more effective it is. EC is available for purchase at UHS without a prescription by students age 17 or older.
The hormones in EC work primarily by delaying or preventing ovulation. They may also change the lining of the uterus, so that a fertilized egg cannot implant itself. EC does not interfere with an existing pregnancy. It only works to prevent a pregnancy from being established in the uterus.
When used correctly, EC is between 75-90% effective in preventing an unplanned pregnancy. The sooner the medication is initiated after unprotected intercourse, the higher the effectiveness may be. At any time, a woman's risk of becoming pregnant when having unprotected intercourse depends on where she is in her menstrual cycle.
Side Effects and Risks
Temporary side effects may include breast tenderness, headache, and menstrual irregularities. EC is safe for almost all women. Even women who have been told they cannot take oral contraceptive pills on a regular basis can generally use EC safely. EC is not recommended for use during pregnancy because it simply will not work.
There are instances when Emergency Contraception may be unsafe
If you are pregnant
During a current migraine headache, especially if accompanied by neurological complications
If you have a history of stroke
If you have problems with blood clotting
A woman should use Emergency Contraception when
A condom broke or fell off
She had sex without using any other method of birth control
The diaphragm slipped out of place
She has missed more than two days of birth control pills
She has been sexually assaulted or raped
Obtaining Emergency Contraception
Plan B is available for purchase without a prescription for men or women who are age 17 or older. An appointment is not needed to purchase Plan B at UHS for those who are 17 and older.
Emergency Contraception is available at UHS by prescription for patients under age 17 and for patients over age 17 years who prefer to purchase emergency contraception by prescription.
For more information about obtaining EC from UHS, please click here