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Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception is used after unprotected intercourse has occurred in order to try to prevent a pregnancy from resulting. This can be used after a episode of non-consensual intercourse, or after a condom breaks, or if for whatever other reason other contraception was not used.

Emergency contraception works by disrupting the timing of ovulation so that egg and sperm cannot meet, or by preventing fertilization.

Having a copper IUD inserted up to 5 days after an episode of unprotected intercourse is very effective at preventing pregnancy, as well as providing ongoing contraception. You would need to see a doctor to have this inserted ASAP.

Levonorgestrel or “Plan B” is available without a prescription at pharmacies and needs to be taken ideally within 3 days of unprotected intercourse. It is effective only for the episode of intercourse for which it was taken and does not provide ongoing contraception. The effectiveness may be somewhat less for women who are heavier (BMI >30).