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Emergency Contraception (cont.)

How Emergency Contraception Works

Emergency contraception prevents pregnancy by stopping or delaying release of an egg (ovulation), blocking fertilization by affecting the egg or sperm, or preventing implantation by making the lining of the uterus inhospitable for pregnancy. Pregnancy is defined by the medical community as implantation of a fertilized egg in the lining of a woman’s uterus, so emergency contraception works before pregnancy has occurred. A pregnancy test is not useful because emergency contraception is used to prevent pregnancy rather than to abort an existing pregnancy. A woman who uses emergency contraception will never know if a pregnancy would have otherwise occurred. Fertility returns with the next cycle unless a birth control method is continued.

In order for emergency contraceptive pills to be effective, they must be taken as directed. Carefully follow the package instructions that come with the emergency contraceptive you choose.

Exams and Tests

It is important to ask yourself these questions before considering the use of emergency contraception. A visit with a healthcare provider may be helpful in order to make sure of your situation.

  • Is it possible that you are already pregnant?
  • Do you use any sort of contraception regularly?
  • Is it possible that you have been exposed to sexually transmitted infections?
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/28/2014
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Emergency Contraception - Patient Experience

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