Facts about sexually transmitted diseases.
Emergency contraception, commonly called the "morning after pill," is a series of high dose birth control pills taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. The pills may 1) prevent the release of the egg from the ovary, 2) prevent the fertilization of the egg, or 3) prevent the fertilized egg from implanting on the wall of the uterus. Depending on the kind of medication administered, there is between a 75-89% chance of preventing pregnancy with the use of ECPs. Side effects of ECPs may include nausea (in 1/2 of women), vomiting (1/3 of women), breast tenderness, irregular bleeding, fluid retention, dizziness and headaches.
The danger signals to watch for after taking the pill are:
• chest or arm pain
• shortness of breath or coughing
• swelling or pain in the legs
• severe headaches, dizziness, weakness, numbness in any part of your body
• blurry or double vision
• severe depression
INTRAUTERINE DEVICE (IUD)
For use within 5 days of unprotected sex.
A second form of emergency contraception involves the insertion of an Intrauterine Device (IUD). The IUD is designed to prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg and is effective up to 99% of the time. Once inserted, an IUD can be used for up to 10 years as a form of contraception. IUDs are not recommended for women who are at risk for sexually transmitted diseases because insertion of the IUD can lead to pelvic infection, increasing the chances of STD transmission. Lower abdominal cramping can be expected during or just after insertion of an IUD. Other side effects may include dizziness and, rarely, fainting. If left in place, IUDs can cause irregular periods and more cramping with periods. IUDs offer no protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
This information is intended for general education purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional and/or medical advice.