Things don’t always go according to plan.
But emergency contraception can help prevent unplanned pregnancies in the event that you need it. It should be used as soon as possible after unprotected sexual intercourse to be most effective.
And of course, never rely on emergency contraception as a standard method of birth control. It’s meant for occasional use only.
Emergency contraceptive pills, also known as, a “morning after pill” may be available with or without a prescription depending on the brand.
How it works
Emergency contraceptive pills prevent the release of an egg from the ovary, or preventing sperm and egg from uniting.
It may also prevent the fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus.
How it's taken
The pill is taken orally as soon as possible after unprotected sex.
May be taken up to 3 to 5 days after the intercourse depending on the option. It is more effective the sooner you start.
- Some brands are available over-the-counter.
- Will not harm the fetus/cause abortion once a pregnancy has started.
- May cause nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, dizziness, breast tenderness, diarrhea, irregular menstrual bleeding.
- Some brands require a prescription.
- May be less effective for women with a an increased body mass index (BMI).
- Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS.