Emergency contraception is a birth control method to avoid being pregnant after sexual intercourse without protection or failure of regular contraception. Women in numerous depend on emergency contraceptive pills, also known as the morning-after pills, to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

These pills can help you in three scenarios:

  • Emergency ContraceptionContraceptive failure (condom got torn or you forgot to take your regular contraceptive pill).
  • Unprotected sex (sex without condom or any other barrier method).
  • When girl or woman has been a victim of the sexual attack (abuse).

Emergency Contraceptive Pills

These can be categorized into two types:

  • emergency contraceptive pills either progestogen-only or combined oestrogen progestogen or a I contraceptives,
  • copper-releasing intrauterine devices (lUDs).

Emergency contraception should be used within 3 days (72 hours) after unprotected sexual contact.

It is worthy to note that there are two ways of contraception after sexual intercourse:

Hormone pills

Emergency Contraception is also called Post-Coital Contraception. As the name signifies, it is a method to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse has taken place. Such situations may arise in case of condom rupture, missed pills, rape.

The use of hormonal postcoital pill is recommended for women living with irregular sexual life. The most common in our country postcoital preparation – Postinor. Do not abuse the use of the pill. AnoutPostinor should be used within 2days after sexual intercourse. 12 hours one must take 1 tablet (just taken 2 pills). But we should remember that a large number of sex acts decreased effectiveness of the product! The use of Postinor after naked sex combine pill containing 50 micrograms of the hormone such as Ovidon or with a low content of the hormone – 35 mg such as Mikroginon. lf using hormonal pills as emergency contraception, there are possible occurrences of side effects such as bleeding, nausea,rare and the absence of menstruation.


This method requires that the woman washes the vagina in order to clean the sperm. Douching can be carried out with the use of solution spermicide, or possibly just boiled water. Douching is not that effective and might not be recommended.From study, spermatozoa moves through the cervix and fallopian tubes in g0seconds which is much quicker before a woman will carry out douching. Also, this method removes only the sperm spillage from the vagina which is superficial, unable to remove the sperm from the fallopian tubes.Pregnancy might likely occur if this method is being used as there won’t be 1-00%monitoring of the sperm regularly. Beware of strong solutions of concentration, as it can damage the mucous membrane. Most women regularly use douching as a method of contraception.

Ovulation refers to the rupture of egg in the woman’s ovary. This occurs about 14 days after first day of menses. This egg travels through the fallopian tube to ‘mate’ with the sperm to produce an embryo and to implant in the uterus.Thus unprotected intercourse around the 14th day of menstrual cycle has more chances of resulting in (unwanted) pregnancy rather than at other times of the menstrual cycle. lf unprotected intercourse has taken place from the 10th to the 18th day of the cycle, need for emergency contraception becomes more acute.

The following methods are used for emergency contraception:

Emergency ContraceptionMorning-After Pill

Ethinyl estradiol 2.5 mg tablet is taken orally twice daily for 5 days, beginning soon after exposure but not later than 72 hours.

Alternatively, Conjugated estrogen 15 mg is used in the same way.

Combined Hormonal Regimen (Yuzpe method)

Two tablets of oral contraceptive pills (such as 0.25 mg L-norgestrel + 50 microgethinyl estradiol combination) are taken as early as possible after intercourse. Two more tablets are to be taken 12 hours later.

Intra-Uterine Device

Insertion of IUD within a maximum period of 5 days after intercourse prevents implantation of the egg.

Progestin-Only Pill

Two tablets of L-norgestrel 0.75 mg taken at L2 hours interval are very successful. The first dose should be taken within 3 days of intercourse.


3 tablets of Mifepristone (RU486) 200 mg are to be taken within 27th day of the cycle irrespective of the day and number of intercourse.


Ella (ulipristal) is an emergency contraceptive which works by causing delay in the release of an egg. Ella is used to avoid being pregnant after having sex without using a protective wear like condom or other effective birth control methods and also used to prevent pregnancy after a normal or usual form of birth control has failed. This contraception is not to be used as a regular form of daily, weekly, or monthly birth control and not be used to terminate an existing pregnancy as it can harm the unborn baby in the womb or cause birth defects. Do not use if you are pregnant.A doctor must be aware before you take Ella in case you have a history of ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, or your last menstrual period was less than 4 weeks ago. Inform your doctor immediately you are experiencing severe pain in your lower stomach, particularly on one side, between the third and fifth weeks after using this medicine. Do not use Ella when confirmed pregnant or allergic to ulipristal. Take the drug as prescribed to you and follow the instructions carefully.Emergency birth control pills neither protect you against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), nor do they terminate pregnancies. So it is always advisable to use condoms as the primary line of defense. Similarly, if you are already pregnant, emergency contraceptives won’t help you in terminating the pregnancy.


Three types of contraceptive pills have been identified which help prevent abortion so that one do not have to worry about having a baby when you do not want it. Of course, prevention is better and taking any of these contraceptive pills can help you save the hassles you might have to face later on in case you become pregnant.

  • The first type of contraceptive pills available contain progestin hormone that has the ability to reduce the risk of pregnancy by 88%. The mini pill is a name for the progestogen-only pill, or POP. These pills have a reduced chance of causing side effects if they are used as a emergency contraception. Progestin containing pills available in the market are – Cerazette, Emin, Fermulen, Nora-Be, Ovrette. It also helps in painful periods.
  • The second type of pills are the Extended-Cycle Pills. These contraceptives avoid pregnancy and allow you to have periods only once in three months. For example, Lybrel. It stops your periods for over a period, but the downside is that you have to take it every day for that period without missing even one dose.
  • The third type are the combined pills. These contain hormone oestrogen and a synthetic form of the hormone progestogen. Most combined pills use the same form of oestrogen such as ethinylestradiol but different types of progestogens. Most combined pills come in 21. or 28 day packs. With a 2l-day pack, all of them are active. You don’t take any of them for the last 7 days of the cycle. Combined pills have three different phase-types: monophasic, biphasic and triphasic.

o Monophasic: All of them contain the same level of hormones. Pills available are Modicon, Mircette, Ovral, Portia, Seasonale. They have a good effect and function positively.

o Biphasic: They contain two different doses of oestrogen and progestogen.

o Triphasic: They contain three different doses of hormones. The dose changes every 7 days. Pills available are: Enpresse, TriNessa, Trivora, Velivet.


Emergency ContraceptionEmergency Contraceptive must be used immediately the unprotected sexual intercourse has occurred. Progestin-only pills such as Plan B contraceptive pills are produced in two tablets. One pill must be taken urgently with the other pill taken 12 hours apart. Emergency Contraceptive pills can be taken up to 5 days however, Progestin-only pills like Plan B are effective for up to 3 days.

Its effectiveness after unprotected sex can be judged as below.

– 95% successful if taken within a day

– 85% successful if taken between 1 to 2 days

– 58% successful between 2 to 3 days.

In case, the unprotected intercourse had passed more than 3days, it is strongly advised to use the Intrauterine Device (lUD) after consulting with your doctor because after the third day, contraceptive pills might fail.

Emergency contraception is designed for emergency relief to avoid pregnancy. Women can take Emergency Contraceptive if any fall into any of the categories below:

  • contraception methods have faulted or failed like condom is broken or the condom slipped off during the intercourse.
  • women think that she had sex during the period of “ovulation days” of the eggs being released. This becomes most crucial days as the chances of becoming pregnant are extremely high.
  • women are sexually abused by being forced, raped or forced to go for unprotected intercourse.

Being time sensitive, two important factors will determine the success of emergency contraception success and those are; how soon woman takes it after the unprotected intercourse has occurred.