Medical Definition of Emergency contraception

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Emergency contraception: The prevention of pregnancy after unprotected vaginal intercourse. Emergency contraception may use drugs related to the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. These "morning-after pill" are similar to birth control pills but generally contain higher hormone doses. Another form of emergency contraception uses an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted by a physician within 5 days after intercourse.

Emergency contraception is also known as emergency birth control; emergency postcoital contraception; and postcoital contraception.

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Reviewed on 12/21/2018

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