EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTIVE PILL
PREVENTS PREGNANCY: YES; 58% EFFECTIVE
STI and HIV PROTECTION: NO, only condoms protect against all STIs
WHEN TO USE? Used in the event of unprotected sex up to 72 hours after the event
Type: Other Method
Emergency contraceptives are often called the morning after pill. They were invented for exactly that, the morning after the night before when something did not quite go to plan. Accidents happen in all walks of life and sex is no different. Emergency contraceptives (morning after pill) can offer you a second chance to prevent pregnancy after having had unprotected sex. An emergency pill typically contains hormones that are similar to oral contraceptives, but are much higher dosed. It works mainly by stopping or delaying the ovaries from releasing an egg. It may also work by changing the lining of the womb that may prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. For the best chance for it to work, you should take the emergency pill as soon as possible after unprotected sex. Ideally you should take it up to 12 hours after you’ve had unprotected sex but if it’s taken more than 24 hours after unprotected sex, it’s already much less effective.
Emergency contraception is most effective when taken within 12-24 hours after unprotected sex. For the best chance for it to work, you should take the emergency pill as soon as possible. Efficacy changes over time: while it’s 95% effective within the first 24 hours after unprotected sex, that number drops to 58% when the pill is taken within 49-72 hours.
Fast Facts to Know:
- Emergency contraception is to be used when: a condom breaks or slips off during sex, another contraceptive method has been defaulted on (e.g. forgot to take pill, missed injection) and in cases of rape.
- This pill can be taken up to 3-5 days after you have unprotected sex, but it is most effective when taken after 72 hours (3 days).
- It is free at your local clinic and can be cheap at some pharmacies.
- These pills work by delaying ovulation (the release of an egg during the monthly cycle)
Want to find out which contraceptive method might work best for you? Take this quiz!
Find out how to use condoms correctly in these videos. Click here
Find out which contraceptive options are available to you and how they each work here