Treatments, Women's Health Services

Emergency Contraception

Understanding Emergency Contraception

Emergencies are unpredictable, and unprotected sexual encounters are no exception. For women who have had unprotected sex or experienced contraceptive failure, emergency contraception is a safe and effective way to prevent unintended pregnancy. It’s not a regular form of contraception, but it can be used as a backup plan to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex.

Types of Emergency Contraception

There are mainly two types of emergency contraception available for women:

Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECPs)

These are also known as “morning-after pills.” ECPs contain either levonorgestrel (Postinor, Plan B One-Step, Take Action, Next Choice One Dose, others) or ulipristal acetate (Ella). These pills work by delaying or inhibiting ovulation.

Copper Intrauterine Device (IUD)

This device can be inserted by a healthcare provider up to five days after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. It’s the most effective form of emergency contraception available.

How to Use Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraceptive pills should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. The sooner they are taken, the more effective they are. However, they can be taken up to 72 hours (for levonorgestrel-based pills) or 120 hours (for ulipristal acetate-based pills) after unprotected sex.

A copper IUD needs to be inserted by a healthcare provider within five days of unprotected sex.

Safety & Side Effects

Emergency contraception is safe for most women. However, some women might experience side effects like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, and changes in the menstrual cycle. If you use ulipristal acetate-based ECPs, you should not breastfeed for one week after taking the pill.


Emergency contraception is not intended as a regular form of birth control. It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Always consult a healthcare provider before making decisions about your sexual health.

Seek Professional Guidance

If you need emergency contraception, it’s essential to consult with a healthcare professional. They can provide information tailored to your health needs and guide you through the process. Prevention is always the best course of action, but for those times when you need a backup plan, emergency contraception is available.

Remember, your health is your wealth.
Make informed choices and always prioritize your wellbeing.