Chance for Pregnancy Prevention
Approximately 60% of all
pregnancies are unintended, mistimed or unwanted. While
unintended pregnancies affect women of all reproductive ages,
socioeconomic and marital status, and all racial and ethnic
groups, they are most likely to occur to women with the least
amount of resources to handle them. Black women are
disproportionately represented in this group.
The availability of appropriate and effective
contraceptives is essential in reducing the number of
unintended pregnancies. While women have had a range of
options that prevent pregnancy prior to unprotected sex, we
now have an important technology in pregnancy prevention after
unprotected sex – emergency contraception.
Facts About Emergency Contraception
Emergency contraception is most commonly
provided in the form of emergency contraception pills (ECPs).
It is also available in the form of minipills or the
copper-T intrauterine device (IUD).
ECPs should be taken as soon as possible.
They are effective up to 72 hours after unprotected sex.
Emergency contraception is not an abortion
and only works if you are not already pregnant. It works
to prevent pregnancy by either temporarily stopping or
delaying release of the egg, stopping fertilization of the
egg or stopping a fertilized egg from attaching to the
Almost all women can use ECPs, even those
women who for medical reasons would not use birth control
pills as their regular method of contraception.
There are no known serious side effects of
emergency contraception, however, some women may
experience nausea, vomiting and breast tenderness.
Emergency contraception can be prescribed
by any physician and other health clinicians.
The impact of unintended pregnancy on the
lives of Black women is serious. The economic hardships and
emotional stress that are often associated with an untimely
pregnancy can impose significant burdens on women and their
families. Emergency contraception has the potential to prevent
millions of these pregnancies.
Many unintended pregnancies are the result of
rape, incest and/or domestic violence.
Emergency contraception does not protect
against sexually transmitted infections and HIV.