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The morning after pill is the most common type of prescription emergency contraception. But is not the only type of emergency contraception. With wide spread use and availability the morning after pill could stop thousands if not millions of unwanted pregnancies a year. It is to be taken by a woman if she has engaged in sexual behavior that may put her at risk for pregnancy (i.e. The condom breaks, or rape.). The pills must start to be taken within 72 hours of the unsafe sex. The sooner it is taken the better. It does not protect against STDs.

There are a few different types of pill kits on the market. They contain anywhere from 1-5 pills and they contain progesterone, estrogen, or both hormones. These are the same steroids used in birth control pills, but the morning after pill is not a birth control pill. The most commonly prescribed pills are Preven and plan B.

With the morning after pill women are said to have a 75-89% lower chance of pregnancy. This does not mean that out of 100 women 11-25 women will get pregnant, but even less. It means that if 100 women had sex during their most fertile time then about 8 would get pregnant.

Most women can safely use the morning after pill, even if they cannot use regular birth control pills. And women can get them at their doctor's office, Planned Parenthood, or their college health center. In order to get the pill a women usually will have to take a pregnancy test, have had unsafe sex less than 72 hours before, and fill out a questionnaire. There is no medical exam.

How it works is it:
  1. inhibits ovulation
  2. delays or induces menstrual cycle
  3. if the first two do not work, it interferes with the uterine lining and therefore a fertilized egg cannot attach and it will die
Side effects (all greatly reduced or non-existent with plan B or other progesterone only pills)
  1. nausea
  2. mood swings
  3. stomach ache
  4. blood clot formation
  5. breast tenderness
  6. infertility
  7. vomiting

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