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Be prepared: How to be ready for the morning after

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(BPT) - There are a few hard truths in life — traffic is always worse when you're late, you'll never find that missing sock and accidents happen when you least expect them, including in your sex life. Accidents like a birth control failure or unprotected sex can happen to anyone, and it's important to know there are options available.

"I talk to my kids about a lot of things — from how their day at school was to what they want for dinner, and surprising for some, sex. With a teenaged daughter and a college-aged son, it's important that we have frank, honest conversations about what can happen in the real world, like unprotected sex or birth control failures," said Todd Rodeheaver, vice president, business development and strategic relationships at Afaxys, Inc.

Being prepared can give you peace of mind and is easier than you think. It can look like open conversations with a family member, partner or physician. It can also be keeping emergency contraception on hand in your medicine cabinet or travel bag to prevent pregnancy if you find yourself in an unexpected situation. Emergency contraception, like EContra One-Step® (levonorgestrel) tablet, 1.5 mg, can be affordable and accessible over the counter, without a prescription. In fact, according to research published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about one in four women (23.5%) have used emergency contraception.

How does it work?

Emergency contraception stops the release of an egg from the ovary, preventing pregnancy. Emergency contraception is easy to access, as it can be purchased online or in the store without ID or a prescription.

"Emergency contraception prevents a pregnancy from occurring in the first place by delaying or preventing ovulation, similar to how some other types of contraception work," said gynecologist Kristen Feldman, M.D., FACOG, BCMAS, vice president, medical affairs at Afaxys, Inc. "It should be used within three days after sex to be most effective, it will not work if you are already pregnant, and it will not affect an existing pregnancy."

Emergency contraception will not protect against HIV infection (the virus that causes AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

How do I use it?

Common situations in which emergency contraception could be used include forgetting to take several birth control pills in a row, experiencing condom breakage or having unprotected sex. Here are three tips to keep in mind —

1. Have an emergency contraceptive on hand. (Pro tip: you can even find emergency contraceptives on Amazon!)
2. Know how to use emergency contraception properly: Take it within 72 hours of unprotected sex. The sooner you use it, within three days after birth control failure or unprotected sex, the better it works.
3. Expect menstrual changes, but consult your physician after use if you're experiencing side effects like severe abdominal pain.

It's always better to be proactive rather than reactive when it comes to situations like unprotected sex or birth control failure.

"Accidents are a part of life, and they're certainly a part of college. I want both my kids to know they have options," said Rodeheaver. "Knowledge like this can help us navigate the unexpected things life throws at us."

Learn more about EContra One-Step®, an over-the-counter emergency contraception that helps prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or birth control failure, by visiting EContraOneStep.com.