Unplanned Pregnancies in the United States 3
Half of all pregnancies in the United States are unplanned, 3.2 million occurred in 2006 alone.(Finer,2011) Emergency contraception offers women a last chance to prevent an unwanted pregnancy after engaging in unprotected sex. Emergency contraception is extremely important for outreach to the millions of women at risk for unplanned pregnancy but not using a regular method by providing a bridge to use of an ongoing contraceptive method. Although emergency contraceptives do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, they do reassure the 8.6 million women who rely on condoms for protection against pregnancy. Emergency contraceptives available in the United States include emergency contraceptive pills and the Copper T intrauterine contraceptive (IUC).
There are three types of emergency contraceptive pills combining both estrogen and progestin, progestin only emergency contraceptive pills and emergency contraceptive pills containing an anti-progestin. All three are available in the United States. Progestin only emergency contraceptive pills have now largely replaced the older pills because they are more effective and cause fewer side effects. Although this therapy is commonly known as the “Morning After Pill”, the term is very misleading. Emergency contraceptive pills may be initiated sooner than the morning after, immediately after unprotected sex or later, for up to one hundred twenty hours after unprotected intercourse.
Currently twenty six brands of combined oral contraceptives are approved in the United States for use as emergency contraceptives. Research has shown the safety and efficiency of an alternative regimen containing ethinyl estradiol and the progestin norethindrone; this result
Unplanned Pregnancies in the United States 4
suggests that oral contraceptive pills containing progestins other than levonorgestrel can also be used effectively as an emergency contraception....