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Current Issues in Emergency Contraception: An Overview for Providers


  • Jennifer Brunton CNM, MSN,

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    • Jennifer Brunton, CNM, MSN is a 2006 graduate of Yale School of Nursing.

  • Margaret W. Beal CNM, PhD

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    • Margaret W. Beal, CNM, PhD is an Associate Professor and Director of the Graduate Entry Pre-specialty in Nursing at Yale University School of Nursing, where she teaches nursing and midwifery students. She serves on the Advisory Committee for Clinicians for Choice, as Division Chair of the ACNM Division of Education, and practices with Planned Parenthood of Connecticut.

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Emergency contraception has the potential to greatly reduce the number of unintended pregnancies occurring each year in the United States. Emergency contraception is a safe and effective intervention to which all women should have easy access in the event of an act of unprotected intercourse. Methods of emergency contraception include combined hormone oral contraceptive pills, progestin-only oral contraceptive pills, a dedicated progestin-only emergency contraceptive product, and insertion of a copper intrauterine device. Barriers exist to the increased use of emergency contraception, including the prescription-only status of all of the methods and lack of accurate knowledge on the part of health care providers and consumers. This article provides an overview of the clinical management of emergency contraception.