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How Effective Is Emergency Contraception?

Clip Number: 3 of 5
Presentation: Emergency Contraception
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Reviewed By: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
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When used correctly, emergency contraception works well at preventing pregnancy. After any one act of unprotected sex, 8 out of 100 women will become pregnant. If those eight women take progestin-only emergency contraception pills (like Plan B), only about 1 will become pregnant. If those eight women take emergency contraception pills with estrogen and progestin, about 2 will become pregnant.
Emergency contraception can be started up to five days after unprotected sex. However...the sooner it's started, the better it works - and most pills become much less effective after the first 72 hours.
Another option, the copper IUD, can also be used as emergency contraception if inserted within five days after unprotected intercourse. It is 99.9 percent effective and can also be used as long-term birth control. Talk with your health care provider if you're interested in getting an IUD.

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