Birth Control: Contraceptive Measures after Unprotected Sex

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Introduction to birth control

If a woman is sexually active and she is fertile and physically able to become pregnant, she needs to ask herself, "Do I want to become pregnant now?" If her answer is "No," she must use some method of birth control (contraception).

Terminology used to describe birth control methods includes contraception, pregnancy prevention, fertility control, and family planning. No matter what the terminology, sexually active people can choose from a variety of methods to reduce the possibility of their becoming pregnant. No method of birth control available today offers perfect protection against sexually transmitted infections (sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs), except abstinence.

In simple terms, all methods of birth control are based on either preventing a man's sperm from reaching and entering a woman's egg (fertilization) or preventing the fertilized egg from implanting in the woman's uterus (her womb) and starting to grow. New methods of birth control are being developed and tested all the time. What is appropriate for a couple at one point may change with time and circumstances.

Unfortunately, no birth control method, except abstinence, is considered to be 100% effective.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/28/2014


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