Emergency contraception can be used after unprotected intercourse or if a condom breaks.
- Copper IUD. The copper IUD is the most effective method of emergency contraception. The device can be inserted within 120 hours of unprotected intercourse. The method is nearly 100% effective at preventing pregnancy and has the added benefit of providing a highly effective method of contraception for as long as the device remains in place. There are very few contraindications to use of the copper IUD, and there are no issues related to weight or obesity associated with the effectiveness of the method.
- Emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) are hormonal pills, taken either as a single dose or two doses 12 hours apart, that are intended for use in the event of unprotected intercourse. If taken prior to ovulation, the pills can delay or inhibit ovulation for at least 5 days to allow the sperm to become inactive. They also cause thickening of cervical mucus and may interfere with sperm function. ECPs should be taken as soon as possible after semen exposure and should not be used as a regular contraceptive method. Pregnancy can occur if the pills are taken after ovulation or if the woman has unprotected sex in the same cycle.