If you have had unprotected sex, or your contraception has failed, you could be at risk of getting pregnant.
What is emergency contraception?
- Emergency contraception is a back-up contraception. You can use emergency contraception to avoid an unplanned pregnancy after you have had sex without using contraception, or if your method of contraception has failed (for example, the condom slipped or you missed a pill).
- You can use emergency contraception up to 5 days after having unprotected sex.
- You can choose from two different types of emergency contraception options: The emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) and the Copper Coil (also known as post-coital IUCD)
- The Copper Coil (IUCD) can be fitted as emergency contraception by a family planning clinic or trained doctor up to 5 days after unprotected sex.
- Emergency contraception is more effective if you take it as soon as possible after you have had unprotected sex.
- While no method of emergency contraception is 100% successful, the IUCD is the most effective of the three options.
- Emergency contraception does not provide any protection from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- Talk to your doctor, family planning clinic or pharmacist (chemist) about the best emergency contraception option for you. While you are there, it might be a good time to talk about regular contraception too.
- Since 1 July 2017, medical card holders can get emergency contraception directly from a pharmacy, free of charge, without having to go to their doctor for a prescription.
- Click here for further information on your emergency contraception choices.
Remember: emergency contraception is more effective if you take it as soon as possible after having unprotected sex.
Emergency contraception pill (ECP)facts
- Women of all ages can use emergency contraception pills to prevent unplanned pregnancy if they have had sex without using contraception or their contraception has failed.
- Many women who have had a crisis pregnancy did not think to use emergency contraception pills.
- Emergency contraception pills are not suitable as a regular method of contraception and they does not prevent pregnancy in every woman.
- Many women believe that emergency contraception pills can only be taken 3 times in their lifetimes - there is no evidence to support this.
- There is no evidence to suggest that use of emergency contraception pills can cause infertility.
- If you are already pregnant, emergency contraceptive pills or the coil will not work.
- Emergency contraception does not provide any protection from sexually transmitted infections. Click here for further information on how to prevent STIs.