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Morning-After Pill Curbs Pregnancy, Not Condom Use

March 21, 2003

This article is part of The Body PRO's archive. Because it contains information that may no longer be accurate, this article should only be considered a historical document.

Researchers at the Annual Meeting of the Society for Adolescent Medicine in Seattle reported on Wednesday that teen mothers given a supply of emergency contraception, also known as the "morning-after pill," have fewer pregnancies and are no less likely to use condoms.

The findings suggest that the morning-after pill may lower the rate of unwanted pregnancies without raising the risk that women will substitute the contraceptive method for others that protect against STDs, said study author Dr. Marvin Belzer.

Belzer and colleagues at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles provided 160 mothers ages 14-20 with a short educational program on how to use and obtain emergency contraception. After the program, one half of the girls received an advance supply of emergency contraception, which they were told was refillable.

Before the study began, only 7 percent of study participants said they had used emergency contraception. However, 85 percent of the teens given an advance supply said they had used it during the following six months. And only 7 percent of the women given the morning-after pill said they had become pregnant six months later. In contrast, pregnancies occurred in 18 percent of women who did not receive an advance supply. Furthermore, six months after receiving the pills, the teens "did not decrease their condom use," Belzer said.

The authors concluded that despite fears that women who have emergency contraception will forgo other birth control methods, they found the two groups of teen mothers were just as likely to use birth control and condoms after receiving information on the morning-after pill as they were beforehand. Belzer and his team noted that they support current recommendations that doctors educate teen mothers about how to use and get emergency contraception. Teen mothers should also be provided with an advance supply when they seek family planning help, they added.

Back to other CDC news for March 21, 2003

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Adapted from:
Reuters Health
03.19.03; Alison McCook

This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.


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