Emergency methods

Emergency contraception can be used after unprotected sex or if there's been a problem such as a condom breaking.


Emergency contraceptive IUD

This is the most effective method of emergency contraception and can be used for up to five days after the episode of unprotected sex.

It is also useful if the woman would like to use the IUD, not only for the emergency situation, but as ongoing method of contraception.

Emergency contraceptive pill

This should be used as soon as possible. It is effective within 72 hours (three days) of unprotected sex, but most reliable within 24 hours (one day).

Women of any age can get the emergency contraceptive pill at a low cost, or possibly free, from your doctor or Family Planning clinic. It is also available without a prescription at some pharmacies.

Postinor-1 is a hormone pill prescribed by a doctor. Levonelle-1 is the same thing, just a different brand name, which can be bought over the counter at a pharmacy.

There is a failure rate of about 2% to 5% so a follow-up pregnancy test should be carried out if the next period is late or unusual.