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What should you do if you had unprotected sex or think that your contraception may have failed? Emergency contraception (ECP) is the answer in such cases to make sure pregnancy doesn’t occur. Statistically, it works in 95% of cases if taken within 5 days (or 120 hours) after sexual intercourse.
Types of emergency contraception pills:
Pills with the levonorgestrel hormone - you can buy them in any store without a prescription. This hormone stops fertilization, delays ovulation, or thickens the uterus so that a fertilized egg cannot implant. It is 90% effective. If you are already pregnant while taking ECPs, they won’t cause any harm to your fetus.
Ulipristal (Ella, ellaOne) is a non-hormonal drug that blocks the effects of the main hormones necessary for conception. You cannot buy them without a prescription, as they may cause severe side effects. If you might be pregnant or have a chronic medical condition, it is better to check with your doctor. The sooner you take an emergency pill, the more effective it will be.
Birth control pills may also work as an emergency contraceptive if taken in double or triple dose, but it is proven to be less effective and more likely to cause nausea than levonorgestrel. It has proven to be effective any time within 120 hours after the sexual intercourse.