Emergency contraception

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Emergency contraception (EC), or emergency postcoital contraception, refers to birth control measures that, if taken after sexual intercourse, may prevent pregnancy.

Forms of EC include:

  • Emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs)—sometimes simply referred to as emergency contraceptives (ECs) or the "morning-after pill"—are drugs that act both to prevent ovulation or fertilization (contraceptive) and possibly post-fertilization implantation of a blastocyst (contragestive). ECPs are distinct from medical abortion methods that act after implantation.[1]
  • Intrauterine devices (IUDs)—usually used as a primary contragestion method, but sometimes used as emergency contraception.

As its name implies, EC is intended for occasional use, when primary means of contraception fail. Emergency contraception can be copntraceptive, preventing fertilization, or contragestive, preventing the implantation of the blastocyst.[2] Contragestives are medically and legally not considered abortion, but they are considered to be abortifacients by a minority of scientists.

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