The use of emergency contraception is up, as more women have been using emergency contraception, also known as morning-after pills, according to US News & World Report.
Emergency contraception is a high dose of progestin that prevents pregnancy by delaying ovulation. Some research has suggested that emergency contraception may make it more difficult for sperm to get past the cervix and into the uterus, and may make the uterus less hospitable to sperm.
Emergency contraception has been available by prescription since 1999, before regulators approved over-the-counter sales of the drug in 2006.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 4.2 percent of women in 2002 said they had used the pill, but between 2006 and 2010 that figure had jumped to 11 percent. This jump translates to 5.8 million women who were between 15 and 44 years old.
US News reported that in 1995, it was less than 1 percent. The report was released earlier this year by the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics using data from the 2006-2010 National Survey of Family Growth.
CBS News stated that the report was based on in-person interviews of more than 12,000 women in 2006 through 2010. It was the agency's first in-depth report on that issue.
Of those who used emergency contraception during those four years, 59 percent said they took it just once, while 24 percent said they used it twice. Seventeen percent said they used it three times or more.
Young women were most likely to use morning-after pills. Nearly one in four of sexually-active women between 20 and 24 had used emergency contraception.
In the study, half the women who used the pills said they did it because they’d had unprotected sex. Most of the rest cited a broken condom or worries that their other birth control method had failed.
CDC's findings also showed that the reasons for emergency contraception use varied depending on race and education levels.
The research showed that white and better-educated women used the drug the most, usually due to worries that another birth control method had failed.