Timely Use of Emergency Contraception May Help Prevent Unintended Pregnancies and Abortions in Developing Countries

January 25, 2016

Emergency contraception (EC) can help women of all ages avoid pregnancy when they do not want to be pregnant. A woman can use EC after an assault, after sex without a condom or other birth control, or when she is worried that her birth control method failed or did not work properly. 

Over the past ten years, there has been an increase in the number of medications for EC, as well increased use of the copper IUD for EC. Almost all healthy young women, including teenagers, can safely use EC. However, some forms of EC do not work as well for women who are overweight. Many people continue to have misinformation about EC that limits access and use. In order to use EC, women need to know about it and be able to get it.

The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine (SAHM) position paper Emergency Contraception for Adolescents and Young Adults: Guidance for Health Care Professionals makes several recommendations regarding education, clinical practice, and advocacy to improve awareness of, access to and use of EC. Such work has the potential to decrease the impact of unintended pregnancy throughout the world. 
The full position paper is published in the February 2016 issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health; a PDF is available for download on the SAHM website. Key issues addressed include:
·         Timely and confidential access to emergency contraception and proper discussion of EC with patients.
·         Advanced prescription or direct provision of EC in order to increase the likelihood and timeliness of use after an episode of UPIC.
·         Provision of EC in emergency department settings.
·         Suggested recommendations for emergency contraception in clinical settings as well as access and advocacy efforts to reduce barriers to EC access and disseminate medically accurate and age-appropriate material.
To obtain more information or to speak to an expert, contact Justin Dreyfuss at SAHM headquarters, +1-847-686-2286.
The Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine is a multidisciplinary organization of health professionals who are committed to advancing the health and well-being of adolescents. Through education, research, clinical services and advocacy activities, members of SAHM strive to enhance public and professional awareness of adolescent health issues among families, educators, policy makers, youth-serving organizations, students who are considering a health career, as well as other health professionals. Learn more at www.adolescenthealth.org.
Media Contact:
Justin Dreyfuss, Marketing Communications Manager

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