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Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception is used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or birth control failure. With Cue, it's easy to get contraceptives delivered fast and discreetly.

Emergency contraception is used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or birth control failure. With Cue, it's easy to get contraceptives delivered fast and discreetly.

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It's amazing how easy and convenient Cue is to use. And getting highly accurate results in just 20 minutes is a game changer for me."
-Luis V. Los Angeles, CA
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When I first heard of Cue, I was most excited for the idea that this one device will open up so many at-home tests in the future. As a nurse and a mother, it’s comforting knowing that I have insight into how healthy my family is."
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Carrying Cue in my bag while traveling has allowed me to get lab-quality results abroad and within 20 minutes, removing the hassle of finding testing sites compliant with the regulatory administrations internationally."
-Alberto P. Chicago, IL
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I carry my Cue everywhere I travel. Its ability to get a near-instant, supervised digital test result on my phone has been a lifesaver to comply with the constantly changing location-specific testing requirements."
-Aaron W. New York, NY
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It's amazing how easy and convenient Cue is to use. And getting highly accurate results in just 20 minutes is a game changer for me."
-Luis V. Los Angeles, CA
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When I first heard of Cue, I was most excited for the idea that this one device will open up so many at-home tests in the future. As a nurse and a mother, it’s comforting knowing that I have insight into how healthy my family is."
-Amanda L. Portland, OR
cue-review-3
Carrying Cue in my bag while traveling has allowed me to get lab-quality results abroad and within 20 minutes, removing the hassle of finding testing sites compliant with the regulatory administrations internationally."
-Alberto P. Chicago, IL
cue-review-4
I carry my Cue everywhere I travel. Its ability to get a near-instant, supervised digital test result on my phone has been a lifesaver to comply with the constantly changing location-specific testing requirements."
-Aaron W. New York, NY
cue-review-1
It's amazing how easy and convenient Cue is to use. And getting highly accurate results in just 20 minutes is a game changer for me."
-Luis V. Los Angeles, CA
cue-review-2
When I first heard of Cue, I was most excited for the idea that this one device will open up so many at-home tests in the future. As a nurse and a mother, it’s comforting knowing that I have insight into how healthy my family is."
-Amanda L. Portland, OR
cue-review-3
Carrying Cue in my bag while traveling has allowed me to get lab-quality results abroad and within 20 minutes, removing the hassle of finding testing sites compliant with the regulatory administrations internationally."
-Alberto P. Chicago, IL
cue-review-4
I carry my Cue everywhere I travel. Its ability to get a near-instant, supervised digital test result on my phone has been a lifesaver to comply with the constantly changing location-specific testing requirements."
-Aaron W. New York, NY

What is Emergency Contraception?

Emergency Contraception Image

What is Emergency Contraception?

Emergency contraception is a form of birth control used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or birth control failure (i.e., a broken condom or missed pill).

The sooner after intercourse you use emergency contraception, the more effective it is. It can be effective if taken up to three to five days after unprotected sex, depending on which type of emergency contraception you use. Emergency contraception comes in the form of an oral pill or a copper-bearing intrauterine device (IUD), a T-shaped device inserted by a healthcare professional into the uterus.

Oral emergency contraceptive pills — also commonly known as morning-after pills — contain synthetic hormones (progestins), such as levonorgestrel or ulipristal acetate, or a combination of estrogen and progestin. The pills release a large dose of progestin which delays or prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg. 

It's important to remember that you should only use emergency contraceptive pills in emergency situations. They should not be considered regular birth control pills.

Copper-bearing IUDs are the most effective form of emergency contraception. They work by either preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg or preventing sperm from reaching an egg. Although they are more effective than oral emergency contraceptives, they must be inserted by a clinician within 120 hours of unprotected sex. The clinician will want to be sure you are not pregnant before inserting the device. 

Another advantage of an IUD is that you can also use it as an ongoing, regular birth control method, just like the birth control pill, and it can last for around 10 years. 

However, if you don't use emergency contraception correctly or quickly enough, or if you use it while taking certain medications, it may not be effective in preventing pregnancy. Furthermore, neither oral emergency contraceptives nor IUDs protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Oral emergency contraceptives also don't work if you've already ovulated or are already pregnant, although they don't harm your baby or induce an abortion if you're already pregnant.

  • Side Effects

    Some common side effects of oral emergency contraceptives include:
    • Nausea
    • Headache
    • Breast pain
    • Irregular bleeding
    • Dizziness

    They typically occur within 24 hours of taking the medicine but should go away within a few days. Some people may also experience abdominal pain or cramps after taking emergency contraception, which can last up to 10 days. If you become pregnant or have pain in your lower abdomen after using emergency contraception, contact your healthcare provider right away or go to the nearest emergency room. You could have an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside of the uterus).

    Other possible side effects include fatigue, depression, anxiety, acne, and mood changes. These side effects are usually mild and go away after a few days.

    Copper-bearing IUDs may cause more cramps and bleeding during your period for the first 3–6 months. However, it gets better over time for most people. Other side effects can include pain upon insertion, backaches or cramping for a few days after insertion, irregular or longer periods, and spotting in between periods.

    You may need to speak to a clinician if your side effects don't go away after using emergency contraception.

  • Who It Affects

    According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 24% of sexually active U.S. women aged 22–49 years report having used emergency contraception.¹

    Any sexually active person with a uterus can use emergency contraception to avoid unwanted pregnancy, especially since some options like Plan B One-Step are available over the counter. There are no age limits or medical contraindications for using emergency contraception pills, and both adolescents and adults over 40 years old can also use copper-bearing IUDs.

    Emergency contraception is highly effective. When pills are taken within the intended timeframe after intercourse, they can prevent up to 95% of pregnancies.² When inserted within 120 hours after intercourse, IUDs are more than 99.9% effective.³

    If you're concerned about an unexpected pregnancy, getting assessed and finding the best option is the first step toward finding peace of mind. The right emergency contraception method can alleviate your worries.

  • What Treatment Looks Like

    According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 24% of sexually active U.S. women aged 22–49 years report having used emergency contraception.¹

    Any sexually active person with a uterus can use emergency contraception to avoid unwanted pregnancy, especially since some options like Plan B One-Step are available over the counter. There are no age limits or medical contraindications for using emergency contraception pills, and both adolescents and adults over 40 years old can also use copper-bearing IUDs.

    Emergency contraception is highly effective. When pills are taken within the intended timeframe after intercourse, they can prevent up to 95% of pregnancies.² When inserted within 120 hours after intercourse, IUDs are more than 99.9% effective.³

    If you're concerned about an unexpected pregnancy, getting assessed and finding the best option is the first step toward finding peace of mind. The right emergency contraception method can alleviate your worries.

  • How Cue Can Help You Find Relief

    Anyone can experience birth control failures that cause anxiety about an unintended pregnancy. 

    There are effective emergency contraception options to help alleviate your worries. Some options like Plan B One-Step are over-the-counter and easily accessible. 

    With Cue, it’s easy to get the medications you need from the comfort of home. And if you’d like to find out more about emergency contraception and if it’s right for you, use the Cue Health App to connect with a healthcare expert and have your questions answered on-demand. It’s convenient, fast, and discreet.

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