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What Is Emergency Contraception? (The Morning After Pill)
What Is Emergency Contraception? (The Morning After Pill)
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What Is Emergency Contraception? (The Morning After Pill)

Youth

Using birth control and condoms every time people choose to have vaginal-penile sex is the best way to prevent an unplanned pregnancy and reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV. If a couple has vaginal-penile sex and did not use birth control or the method of birth control failed, pregnancy could occur. What can a couple do if that happens? Get emergency contraception (EC).

 

EC—also called the morning-after pill—is a pill that can be bought in a drugstore or pharmacy or picked up from a family planning clinic, like Planned Parenthood. EC can help prevent pregnancy when it is taken up to five days after unprotected sex or birth control failure. (EC only prevents pregnancy; it does not end or harm a pregnancy that has already started.) The sooner EC is taken, the better it works to prevent pregnancy.

 

EC does not prevent STDs, but it can greatly reduce the chance of a pregnancy starting if used soon after unprotected sex. If a person has had unprotected sex, they should visit a health center or their health care provider to be tested for STDs. If a person goes to a family planning clinic to get tested for STDs or for EC, it is important to make sure the clinic has actual nurses and doctors working there because some places that offer free pregnancy testing do not provide accurate information.

FAQs

Can someone my age really get pregnant or get someone pregnant?

There are a lot of myths out there about if, how and when someone can or can’t get pregnant. The truth is, once you start to go through puberty, it’s possible to get pregnant or get someone pregnant. That’s why it’s so important to know how pregnancy happens and how to prevent it if you or your partner are not ready.

How can you avoid getting a sexually transmitted disease?

The only 100-percent effective way to avoid getting an STD is to abstain from sexual touching below the waist, such as rubbing bodies without clothes, vaginal-penile sex, oral sex and anal sex. Your next best bet is to practice safer sex, such as using either a male or female (internal) condom and/or dental dam every time you have any type of sex. Once you start having sex, it’s also important to get tested regularly for STDs and to ask your partners to do the same.

Parents

CONVERSATION STARTERS

 

Parents or guardians can start talking with their children about pregnancy and how to prevent it before their children become sexually active. When parents and guardians talk with their children about these topics, children learn that they can come to their parents if and when they have questions. Below are some ways to start these conversations:

If you’re watching a show where a couple is pregnant, you can talk to your child about it

“Do you think those two characters are ready to have a baby?” You could also ask, “How do you think they could have prevented the pregnancy?”

Educators

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

After watching the video with your class, process it using the following discussion questions:

What are some methods of birth control or contraception that you learned about in this video?

What methods prevent pregnancy and reduce the risk of sexually transmitted diseases?

What is the most effective way for someone to prevent pregnancy if they are not ready or don’t want to have a baby?

Where could you get more information if you still have questions about pregnancy and reproduction?

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