So…we missed Back Up Your Birth Control Day, which was yesterday. My bad. But, it’s never too late to do so!
So what is back-up birth control? It’s normally known as Emergency Contraception, or the morning-after pill. I spent last summer working on a study about EC, and it’s surprising how little people know about it. So educate yourself here with some basic facts, courtesy of the Back Up Your Birth Control Fact Sheet:
The most common form of EC is emergency contraceptive pills, which contain concentrated dosages of the same hormones found in daily birth control pills, meaning either progestin alone or a combination of estrogen and progestin. However, EC is not as effective as regular birth control.
People 17 and older can purchase EC without a prescription, and people under 17 need a prescription, except in a few states.
EC will not work if a woman is already pregnant and EC will not cause
defects if a woman takes it when she is already pregnant.
EC will not affect a woman’s chance of becoming pregnant in the future.
EC is not RU-486, otherwise known as the “abortion pill.”
EC, when used correctly, can reduce the risk of pregnancy by 89% after a single act of unprotected sex. Effectiveness declines as the interval between
intercourse and the start of treatment increases.
In the first 24 hours after intercourse, EC can prevent 95% of expected pregnancies.
EC can be used up to 5 days after unprotected sex, but the sooner it is used, the better.
Each year, there are about 3 million unintended pregnancies in the United States, and more than half occur among women who are using a regular method of contraception. Yes, things happen—it’s a fact of life. But we’re lucky enough to live in a country where there is a safe, effective back-up method of protection to help people when they mess up.