Emergency Contraception: Resource Overview

Emergency contraception methods are used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, rape, or birth control failure. Methods include progestin-only pills, combination estrogen-progestin pills, ulipristal pills, and the copper intrauterine device (IUD). Ob-gyns, physicians whose primary responsibility is women’s health, play a key role in providing scientific information and access to emergency contraception for their patients.

Here are the key publications and resources for ob-gyns, other women’s health care providers, and patients from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and other sources. 

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Resources for Ob-Gyns and Women’s Health Care Providers
Resources for Women and Patients
External Organizations

Resources for Ob-Gyns and Women’s Health Care Providers

Practice Bulletin: Emergency Contraception (members only)

“Emergency Contraception,” issued by ACOG in September 2015, provides clinicians with evidence-based guidelines for the use of emergency contraception. The levonorgestrel-only regimen is more effective and associated with less nausea and vomiting than the combined estrogen-progestin regimen. The copper IUD is another effective option.

Committee Opinion: Access to Emergency Contraception

“Access to Emergency Contraception,” issued by ACOG in November 2012, discusses barriers to access to emergency contraception methods, which are used to prevent pregnancy in the first few days after unprotected sexual intercourse, sexual assault, or contraceptive failure. This guideline recommends increasing access to emergency contraception, including removing the age restriction for over-the-counter access.


Resources for Women and Patients

Patient FAQ: Emergency Contraception

“Emergency Contraception,” issued by ACOG in October 2015, explains that there are two forms of emergency contraception: pills and the copper IUD. There are three types of emergency contraception pills: progestin-only, combination pills, and ulipristal.


External Organizations

The Emergency Contraception Website, operated by the Office of Population Research at Princeton University and by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, provides information about emergency contraception for the public, including access by zip code. It has a section for adolescents, and another for providers.


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), a 501(c)(3) organization, is the nation’s leading group of physicians providing health care for women. As a private, voluntary, nonprofit membership organization of more than 57,000 members, ACOG strongly advocates for quality women’s health care, maintains the highest standards of clinical practice and continuing education of its members, promotes patient education, and increases awareness among its members and the public of the changing issues facing women’s health care.

American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
409 12th Street SW, Washington, DC  20024-2188 | Mailing Address: PO Box 70620, Washington, DC 20024-9998