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Birth Control - Teens and Birth Control


Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception can be used if you have had unprotected sex or you think your birth control method may have failed. The pills can prevent a pregnancy when taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex, although they are most effective when used within 72 hours. A copper IUD is sometimes used as emergency contraception and can prevent pregnancy if it is inserted within 5 to 7 days after you have had unprotected sex.

If you have had unprotected sexual intercourse or you think your birth control method may have failed, emergency contraception is a backup to prevent a pregnancy.

It's a good idea to have emergency contraception on hand or a prescription for emergency contraception in case you ever need it. Talk to your health professional or a family planning clinic about this.

If you do use emergency contraception, be sure to follow up with your health professional to find an effective, ongoing method of birth control.

For more information, see the Emergency Contraception website at

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 07, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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