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Common Myths About Emergency Contraception

By HERWriter
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myths about emergency contraception

Emergency contraception (EC) has been available for many years and has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration. Also known as the "morning after" pill, EC contains the same hormones as ordinary birth control pills. It can be started up to 120 hours after unprotected intercourse. EC can be a taboo topic and as such, there are many myths associated with it.

Myth: EC can be used to terminate pregnancy.
Truth: Emergency contraceptive pills cannot terminate pregnancy. It works by preventing a pregnancy before it happens. EC is not the same as the abortion pill and does not cause abortion.

Myth: EC is difficult to obtain.
Truth: In the United States, women ages 18 and over can get emergency contraception without a prescription.

Myth: EC is unsafe.
Truth: Emergency birth control pills work exactly the same as regular birth control pills. Birth control pills are one of the best-studied and safest drugs available today and have been approved by the FDA.

Myth: Emergency contraceptive pills always make women feel sick.
Truth: Some women do experience side effects after taking EC. These are similar to strong PMS symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea, and fatigue. They last for a short period after taking EC.

Myth: Using emergency birth control pills more than once is dangerous.
Truth: Emergency birth control pills contain the same hormones as regular birth control and are similar to those your body produces.

Myth: Emergency birth control pills can affect fertility.
Truth: EC does not affect future fertility. Neither birth control pills nor emergency birth control pills affect your ability to get pregnant later.

Myth: EC causes birth defects.
Truth: If you are already pregnant, taking emergency birth control pills will not harm your pregnancy or cause birth defects.

Myth: Taking EC can prevent pregnancy until a woman’s next menstrual period.
Truth: Emergency birth control pills only prevent pregnancy when they are taken within the prescribed time after unprotected sex. If you have unprotected sex after taking emergency birth control pills, you can get pregnant.

Myth: EC protects against sexually transmitted diseases.
Truth: Neither emergency contraceptive or regular birth control pills protect against sexually transmitted infections or HIV/AIDS. It is a good idea to get tested for STDs if you have had unprotected sex. You may want to consider using condoms in future to protect against STDs even while using another method of birth control.

World Health Organization
Arizona Family Planning Council

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Emergency Contraception

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