WHEN and HOW?
Emergency contraceptives are often called the morning after pill. They can offer you a second chance to prevent pregnancy after having had unprotected sex.
The efficacy of emergency contraceptives change drastically depending on how long after unprotected sex you take them. To be as effective as they can be you must take them during the 24 hours after you had sex, after this time, their ability to be effective declines.
Efficacy of emergency contraceptives changes over time as follows:
- 95% effective within first 24 hours after unprotected sex
- 85% if taken within 25-48 hours
- 58% if taken within 49-72 hours
How to use emergency contraception?
For the best results with emergency contraception, be quick. Taken 12 hours after unprotected sex it is a lot more effective than after 24 hours. You just need to take the morning after pill like any other tablet with some water. After using emergency contraception you should use another form of contraception for the rest of your cycle to protect yourself if you do not want to become pregnant.
Emergency contraception (the morning after pill) is not made for regular use - it is only intended as a back-up.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Emergency contraception (morning after pill) is most effective when taken within 12-24 hours after unprotected sex. 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. For the best chance for it to work, you should take the emergency pill as soon as possible.
Yes, you can use the emergency pill if something has gone wrong with your usual form of contraception, for example a forgotten pill (only if the intake is more than 48 hours ago) or split condom.
Women who take ECPs should understand that they could become pregnant the next time they have sex unless they begin to use another method of contraception at once. Because ECPs delay ovulation in some women, she may be most fertile soon after taking ECPs. If she wants ongoing protection from pregnancy, she must start using another contraceptive method at once.
Repeated administration within a menstrual cycle is not advisable because of the possibility of disturbance of the cycle and a very high hormone dose. The emergency pill (morning after pill) should not be relied on as a regular form of contraception, and it is not as effective as other forms of hormonal contraception specifically made for regular use - it is only intended as a back-up.
No. Emergency contraceptives (morning after pill) do not work if a woman is already pregnant. When taken before a woman has ovulated, emergency pills prevent the release of an egg from the ovary or delay its release by 5 to 7 days. By then, any sperm in the woman's reproductive tract will have died, since sperm can survive there for only about 6 days.