Emergency Contraception: A Primer for Pediatric Providers

Alana L. Clements; Alison Moriarty Daley

Disclosures

Pediatr Nurs. 2006;32(2):147-153. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction

Emergency contraception (EC) is a contraceptive method used safely and successfully by women for more than 30 years to prevent pregnancy. Nurses at all levels are often the first point of contact for a woman who is requesting EC, thus it is particularly important for them to stay abreast of both the facts regarding the use of this product and the current political controversies. It is particularly important for Nurse Practitioners (NPs) working in primary care with adolescents to remain cognizant of the significant barriers that remain for many women of all ages trying to access this important contraceptive tool.

Emergency contraception (EC) is a contraceptive method used to prevent pregnancy. It is recommended for use after intercourse with a known contraceptive failure, such as a broken condom, more than two missed oral contraceptive pills, late administration of depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), late application of a new contraceptive patch, and intercourse without a condom or following a sexual assault (Grimes & Raymond, 2002). Women have been using various forms of EC safely and effectively for over 30 years (Ellertson, 1996; Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 2005).

Nurses at all levels are often the first point of contact for a woman who is requesting EC, thus it is particularly important for them to stay abreast of both the facts regarding the use of this product and the current political controversies. It is particularly important for Nurse Practitioners (NPs) working in primary care with adolescents to remain cognizant of the significant barriers that remain for many women of all ages trying to access this important contraceptive tool: (a) inability to obtain a prescription within 72-120 hours, (b) lack of access to health care (including women who are uninsured or those who live in rural areas, far from a health care provider and/or pharmacy), (c) health care providers who do not feel comfortable prescribing EC, and (d) pharmacists who will not fill EC prescriptions.

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