Emergency contraception―commonly known as the "morning after pill" or the copper IUD―helps reduce the risk of pregnancy after unprotected or under-protected sex and is safe for teens.
Contrary to many beliefs, it does not disrupt an implanted pregnancy in the uterus. It won't, however, stop sexually transmitted infections.
Here are some situations when taking emergency contraception would be useful:
The teen did not use birth control.
The teen missued a dose (or doses) of birth control pill (or was late applying a new patch, inserting a new ring, or getting the next injection).
The condom broke or slipped.
The teen threw up after taking her birth control pill.
The teen was sexually assaulted.
There are 3 emergency contraception methods:
Levonorgestrel is approved to be
sold without a prescription to individuals of all ages.It is important to note that secret shopper studies indicate some pharmacies continue to enforce age restrictions, and the cost of the over-the-counter product can be prohibitive―especially for teens.
Ulipristal acetate (sold under the brand name Ella) is available
by prescription only. Studies have shown, however, that many pharmacies do not stock it.
All teens should be counseled about how and when each method can be used. This includes those with physical or cognitive disabilities. Youth with disabilities are at higher risk to be sexually assaulted than their peers, according to the AAP.