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Emergency Contraception - What Should You Know?

Written and reviewed by
Dr. Priyanka Singh 94% (218 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Obs and Gynae, MRCOG(London), DNB, Fellowship In Uro Gynaecology
Gynaecologist, Mumbai  •  13 years experience
Emergency Contraception - What Should You Know?

If you’ve had unprotected sex, that is, sex without using contraception, or think your contraception might have failed, you can use emergency contraception. There are different types of emergency contraception.

  1. The emergency intrauterine device (IUD).
  2. An emergency contraceptive pill with the active ingredient ulipristal acetate (UPA).
  3. An emergency contraceptive pill with the hormone levonorgestrel. There are different brands.

Emergency contraception can be very effective, but it’s not as effective as using other methods of contraception regularly. The emergency IUD is the most effective emergency contraception.

An emergency contraceptive pill needs to be taken as soon as possible after sex to have the best chance of working.

Emergency contraception is not required for the first 21 days after giving birth.

Does emergency contraception cause an abortion?

No. Emergency contraception may stop ovulation (releasing an egg), fertilisation of an egg, or a fertilised egg from implanting in the uterus (womb). It prevents pregnancy and is not abortion.

How will I know if my emergency contraception has worked?

Do a pregnancy test to make sure you’re not pregnant if:

  • You haven’t had a normal period within three weeks of taking an emergency contraceptive pill or having the emergency IUD fitted
  • You started a method of hormonal contraception soon after using emergency contraception; you should do a test even if you have a bleed.

A pregnancy test will be accurate if the test is done three weeks after the last time you had unprotected sex.

Am I protected from future pregnancy?

You can continue to use the IUD as your regular contraceptive method if you want to. It will be highly effective at preventing pregnancy. The emergency contraceptive pill won't continue to protect you from pregnancy. If you have unprotected sex again you’re at risk of pregnancy. Seek advice – you may need emergency contraception again.

Can I take the emergency pill more than once in a menstrual cycle?

You can take the same type of emergency pill more than once in any menstrual cycle if you need to, but it may not be possible to take a different type of pill in the same cycle.

Emergency contraceptive pills aren’t as effective as using other methods ofcontraception regularly. It’s important to start an effective method of contraception after using the emergency contraceptive pill.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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