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Emergency Contraceptives (EC)

Updated: JULY 6, 2020

Emergency contraceptives (EC) is an umbrella term referring to any contraceptive measures that, when employed in a specific time frame after sexual intercourse, can prevent a pregnancy from occurring.

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More About Emergency Contraceptives (EC)

The most common term used for EC is known as "the morning after pill." It implies that it is one specific thing: something to be taken by mouth the morning after a sexual encounter. There are actually several options including a number of pill choices and the copper IUD (known more commonly as the Copper T).

In the U.S., progestin-only EC (like Plan B One-Step) is available without a prescription. Ulipristal acetate EC (Ella) is available with a prescription and Copper T are available from your doctor. Some forms of EC, like Copper T can be used to prevent pregnancy up to five days after sexual intercourse.

Some brands of daily birth control pills can be used as EC. It's important that you consult with your doctor about your options.

Some forms of EC lose effectiveness for women over a certain body weight depending on the drug. Read the instructions carefully and always consult a health care professional if you have questions.

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