The Benefits and Risks of Emergency Contraception for Teens.

The Benefits and Risks of Emergency Contraception for Teens.


Emergency contraception (EC) is a type of birth control that can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or a contraceptive failure. It is a vital option for teenagers who are sexually active but not ready to become parents. In this article, we will explore the benefits and risks of emergency contraception for teens.

What is Emergency Contraception?

Emergency contraception is a type of birth control that can be used after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. There are different types of EC, including pills, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and emergency contraceptive kits. The pills are available in two types - Levonorgestrel (Plan B) and ulipristal acetate (Ella).

The benefits of emergency contraception for teens

Prevents Unintended Pregnancies

One of the primary benefits of emergency contraception for teens is that it can prevent unintended pregnancies. According to the Guttmacher Institute, about 750,000 teenage girls get pregnant every year in the United States, and nearly 82% of those pregnancies are unintended. Emergency contraception can reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy by up to 95% if taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex.

Offers Peace of Mind

Emergency contraception offers peace of mind for sexually active teens who are not ready to become parents. It can be a stressful and worrying time for a teen who has had unprotected sex, but EC can help reduce that stress by offering a backup plan. Knowing that there is a way to prevent an unintended pregnancy can be a significant relief for many teens.

Provides a Second Chance

EC provides a second chance for sexually active teens who may have made a mistake or had a contraceptive failure. Teens may not always use contraception consistently or correctly, and EC offers a safety net to prevent unintended pregnancies. EC can be an essential option for sexually active teens who want to take control of their reproductive health.

Can Reduce Abortion Rates

Emergency contraception can also reduce the need for abortions. According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, access to emergency contraception can prevent up to 1.5 million unintended pregnancies and 640,000 abortions each year in the United States.

The risks of emergency contraception for teens

Does Not Protect Against Sexually Transmitted Infections

Emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It is essential for sexually active teens to use condoms or other forms of barrier contraception to reduce their risk of contracting an STI.

May Cause Side Effects

Like all medications, emergency contraception can cause side effects. The most common side effects of EC are nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. These side effects usually subside within a few days, but some teens may experience more severe side effects.

Does Not Always Work

Emergency contraception is not 100% effective. The effectiveness of EC depends on how soon it is taken after unprotected sex. The sooner EC is taken, the more effective it is. Plan B is effective up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, while Ella is effective up to 120 hours after unprotected sex. If taken too late, EC may not prevent pregnancy.

Can Affect Menstrual Cycles

Emergency contraception can affect menstrual cycles. Teens may experience irregular bleeding or spot after taking EC. This is normal and usually resolves within a few weeks, but it can be a cause for concern for some teens.

Expert Opinions

Many experts agree that emergency contraception can be a valuable tool for preventing unplanned pregnancies among teenagers. Dr. James Trussell, a professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton University, says, "Emergency contraception is an important method of birth control, particularly for teenagers who are at high risk of unintended pregnancy." Dr. Haywood Brown, president of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, adds, "It's important for adolescents to have access to emergency contraception because they're at a higher risk for unintended pregnancy."


Emergency contraception can be an effective way to prevent unplanned pregnancies among teenagers. It is easily accessible and does not have any long-term health risks. However, it is not 100% effective and does not protect against STIs. It is important for teenagers to use emergency contraception responsibly and to continue to use barrier methods of contraception to protect against STIs. As Dr. Brown says, "Emergency contraception is not a substitute for regular contraception, but it can be an important backup method for preventing unintended pregnancy.

Previous Post Next Post