It’s Not Too Late—Emergency Contraception

After New Years, my best friend called me wanting my help. She was really freaked out on the phone because the condom broke after hooking up with her boyfriend and she was worried she could be pregnant.  Scary, huh? 

I told her about emergency contraception (EC) and how effective it is at preventing pregnancy -- up to 89% if taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. 

(FYI: even though EC is great in an emergency, there are MUCH better ways to protect yourself, so make sure to use condoms and other kinds of birth control!)

Right away, we went on an EC expedition and headed to the pharmacy.  Yeah, I know it’s not your usual Sunday morning hangout, but it had to be done. 

I was glad my friend came to me when she needed help. If I was as stressed out and worried as she was, I know I would have definitely needed a friend by my side.

If you are 17 or older, getting EC isn’t very complicated, but it can be intimidating, scary, or awkward without someone by your side. So here are a few suggestions you can give your friends (or even take yourself!) if you find yourself in a similar situation:

  1. Get the 411.  Do you know how EC works, who makes it, and how much it costs?  Watch these ladies as they talk about their first hand experiences with EC and the different EC types out there!
  2. Know your rights.  If you’re 17 or older, you have the right to get over the counter EC without a prescription even if a pharmacist asks you for one.  Don’t forget to bring your ID with you!  If you are under 17, don’t worry, you can still get confidential access to EC with a prescription from a clinic near you.
  3. Bring a friend or go as a group: Tell your best friend(s) about the situation you are in and ask them to help you out.  Going as a group of friends can make  the whole process so much easier . Plus, accidents happen to everyone and some day you might be able to return the favor!
  4. Ask a close family member. What if you can’t or don’t want to tell your friend about your situation or you prefer they don’t know? Confide in a family member such as an older cousin or sibling instead! You never know what type of advice they can give you. As adults they will have easier access to everything and make the situation a little less stressful.
  5. Take the pill with someone by your side.  EC is a simple pill to take that doesn’t have major side effects or cause an abortion, but if you’re still nervous, it doesn’t hurt to have someone by your side.
  6. Plan it out for next time.  Remember, there are better ways to protect yourself from pregnancy.  Even though the morning after pill can be effective against preventing an unwanted pregnancy, it should be thought of as a last resort. It is still very important to talk to your partner and have safe, protected sex with condoms and other forms of contraception.  Learn more about your birth control options now.

So for all you girls out there (and your supportive-friends/boyfriends), make sure you know all there is to know about EC and how you can get it, because accidents do happen.