Emergency Contraception

Improved education on the availability, use, and function of emergency contraception can be an important complement to other FP options. The term “emergency contraception” refers to several contraceptive methods that can be used to prevent pregnancy after sex. These methods include several kinds of Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECPs) as well as insertion of an IUD. They offer women an important second chance to prevent pregnancy when a regular method fails, no method was used, or sex was forced.[1]

Research over the past 30 years has shown that these methods are safe and effective. Emergency contraception is endorsed by WHO and many other international and national organizations. Depending on the method used, emergency contraception can reduce a woman’s risk of becoming pregnant from a single act of intercourse by between 75 and 99 percent.[2]

Be aware of the national policies in the country where you are working. Some countries do not support the use of emergency contraception as a FP method. This may be because of the misconception that emergency contraception works by aborting a fertilized egg. In reality, emergency contraception actually prevents pregnancy after unprotected intercourse by preventing the sperm from reaching the egg by changing the vaginal/uterine environment and thickening the mucous.

Key Emergency Contraception Resources: