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Emergency Contraception
Take the EMERGENCY out of emergency contraception 

Why wait? If you’re 17 or older, you can get emergency contraception pills (EC) over-the-counter. Call Mabel Wadsworth Center to get your EC today and plan ahead for one less emergency. We offer a confidential, private setting where you can ask us anything about emergency contraception and leave with your EC for just $25. Appointment required; call (207) 947-5337 today and we can usually see you within 24 hours, Monday-Thursday.

What is Emergency Contraception?
Emergency Contraception (EC) is a safe and effective back-up method that can prevent pregnancy if taken within 120 hours (5 days) from a contraceptive failure or unprotected intercourse.  It does not prevent HIV (the virus causing AIDS) or other sexually transmitted infections (STI’s).

How can I get EC?
EC is now available in Maine over the counter (no prescription necessary) for women 17 and over. In certain states (Maine included), women under 17 years old can get Emergency Contraception directly from a pharmacist trained to dispense the medication to minors.  Women who have MaineCare or private insurance need a prescription from their health care provider in order for their insurance to cover the cost of the medication.

How does EC work?
EC prevents pregnancy the same way that the daily birth control pill does: by delaying or inhibiting
ovulation, inhibiting fertilization, or preventing implantation of a fertilized egg in the
uterus. EC is not effective if a woman is already pregnant and will not terminate an established pregnancy.

How effective is EC?
Emergency Contraception can lower the risk of pregnancy by up to 89% - the sooner you take EC after unprotected intercourse, the more effective it is. 

Who should not take EC?
EC is safe and effective for most women.  You should not take itif you are already pregnant or have an allergy to progesterone (Levonorgestrel). 

If EC fails, are there risks to the fetus?
There is no scientific data to suggest that there would be an increased risk of birth defects if EC fails or if a woman who is already pregnant takes EC. 

What are the possible side effects?



Abdominal pain

Breast tenderness





Heavier/ lighter menstrual bleeding


Talk to your medical provider if the side effects are severe or last more than 48 hours.  See a medical provider right away if you have severe abdominal pain, since this can be a warning sign of an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, a serious medical problem.

When will I get my period?
Your next menstrual period should begin around its normal time or a few days earlier or later.  If you do not have your period within three weeks after taking EC, contact your health care provider.

When should I start using my birth control method that I have chosen?
Start your regular, on-going, birth control the same day you take EC. Emergency Contraception is meant for one-time protection, it is not a substitute for regular birth control.  You should not take more than 2 tablets within a 24-hour period.

For more information on Emergency Contraception call Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center at 1-800-948-5337 or visit www.not-2-late.com

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