Emergency Contraception Methods

Emergency contraception methods are used solely for birth control. While other contraceptives too have the same purpose the only difference is that these can be taken after having sex. That said, it is important to understand that emergency contraception methods are different from drugs that put an end to pregnancy. This means,such methods will not work if you’re already pregnant as they do not induce abortions.

Another important thing about emergency contraception methodsis that while they are effective, they cannot bethe substitute for your regular birth control. This is because the regular birth control methods are more efficient with fewer side effects, and are budget friendly. As is evident from the name itself, emergency contraception methods are for emergencies, and not something to use regularly. To know more about the differences you can book a session on DocGenie for an online doctors’ consultation.

When to useemergency contraception methods?

Emergency contraception methods are generally used if a condom ruptured or slipped off while having sex, or if you misseda couple of regular contraceptive pills during a monthly cycle. Moreover, if you had unplanned and unprotected sex and want to negate the chances of getting pregnant, you will need an emergency contraception.

Available Options

The popular emergency contraception options come as pills, known as “morning after” pill.  The dose of these emergency contraception pills vary from one brand to another and you might need one pill or two, accordingly.  

Popular emergency contraceptionpills are –

Hormone-based pills

These emergency contraception pills are made up with levonorgestrel and are specifically manufactured as emergency contraception, hence not requiring any prescription.Hormone-based pills delay your ovulation. Pills,like levonorgestrel,works by temporarily blocking eggs from being released, preventing fertilization, or stopping fertilized egg from getting into the uterus.

Nonhormonal pills

There are nonhormonal drugs as well that thwarts the effect of primary hormones essential for conception. Buying these pills require prescription.

Birth control pills

In some cases birth control pills are also taken as emergency contraception, but you need to take more pills at one go. This method is effective, but is less successful than levonorgestrel pills. Also, using this method is not recommended without doctor’spermission.Checking with your doctor will help you know about the correct pills and dose.


This intrauterine device (IUD) can also work as an emergency contraception method. The device goes inside your body and must be put in within five days of having sex, only by a nurse or a doctor. The method works as emergency contraception as well as regular birth controlsolution as itstops pregnancy as long as it is there in your body.IUDs work by stopping implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. When you want to remove the device, you will need to get it done by a nurse or a doctor as well.

Which method is best?

It depends from one individual to another and varies according to a number of factorsincluding age. It is pertinent to note that some non-prescription pills have age limits. Your insurance coverage is also a deciding factor. The days between having sex and looking for a method is another determining factor. Some methods work for just three days after sex, some work tillfive days after intercourse. Moreover, your body weight will have to be counted as a factor as well. For instance Copper-TIUDis known to be more effective than pills for women with obesity. Besides, IUDis also known as the most effective form of emergency contraception for any age group, and also themost useful long-term solution for birth control. 

How long after having sex do theywork?

The answer is sooner the better. Available research data shows, if you usethe emergency contraception method within 72 hours of having sex, you stand only a 1 to 2 percent chance of getting pregnant.

Levonorgestrel pills are effective if you take them within 3 days after having sex, although they are known to be effective till five days. Nonhormonal pills and the IUD usually work up to five days after sex. 

Your monthly cycle plays an important role here. If you had sex during the period of being fertile, any delay in takingthe emergency contraception method could be risky. That’s why medical practitioners suggest using it immediately after having sex.

If you are looking for the best gynaecologist in Delhi or online gynaecologist consultation in India, DocGenie is the right platform for you. Our partner doctors and gynaecologists have years of experience in the field and are suitably armed to help you with your problems and needs.

Dosupplements or medications affect outcome?

There are chances that they could meddle with the methods. Certain medicines and supplements likeepilepsy drugsand some antibioticscan thwart the emergency contraception methods from working desirably. This is why you should always disclose the drugs you are taking to your doctor or pharmacist so that they can recommend the right method to you.

Is It Safe? What Are the Side Effects? 

Emergency contraception methods are usually safe for all women, once they reach the right age for having sex. Side effects from these methods are not common but you may get some mild symptoms like nausea, mild stomach pain, and headache. In such cases consult your doctor who will prescribe medicinesto alleviate the symptoms. 

However, chances are there that you will have spotting, and your next period date might get altered, i.e. occurring a few days earlier or later.That said, if you have pre-existing health conditions, taking emergency contraception could be risky. By all means talk to your doctor, before taking one.

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