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Harvard Commentaries
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Emergency Contraception


March 01, 2005

Birth Control
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Emergency Contraception
Emergency Contraception
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Emergency contraception, also called, postcoital contraception, is birth control given shortly after, rather than before, sexual intercourse.
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Reviewed by the Faculty of Harvard Medical School

Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception, also called postcoital contraception, is birth control given shortly after, rather than before, sexual intercourse.

Emergency contraception is used when a regular birth-control method was not used, used improperly (for example, a skipped birth-control pill) or used correctly but failed (for example, a broken condom), and a pregnancy is undesirable.

There are several options to help couples to deal with this emergency: Emergency toll-free hotline phone numbers, (800) 230-PLAN (7526) and or (888) 668-2518 provide information and assistance to couples who cannot reach or do not have a health-care provider and are in need of emergency contraception.

The two emergency approaches used to prevent pregnancy after intercourse include:

 

 

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