Emergency Contraception (EC) can stop a pregnancy before it starts. (That means the EC pills are not the same as the abortion pill.) Depending on where you live you may have multiple types of EC to choose from. Most types work up to 5 days (or 120 hours) after unprotected sex, and the sooner you use it, the more effective it will be.
Examples of emergency contraception:
Ulipristal acetate dedicated pills. This new form of EC is a one-pill dose that works up to 5 days after unprotected sex and, unlike other EC pills, won’t decrease in effectiveness during those 5 days.
Levonorgestrel-based pills: Lydia Postpil, Postinor 2, Norpill, Unwanted72, Nowill Pill, Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, Next Choice, My Way, After Pill, Levonorgestrel. These may be available over the counter with or without a prescription, depending on your country of residence. They are similar to other contraceptive pills but at much higher doses. They can work up to 5 days after unprotected sex, but effectiveness decreases each day. If you want to use this method, you should use it as soon as possible after unprotected sex.
Non-hormonal IUD. This is the most effective EC there is. Have a provider insert it within 5 days of unprotected sex. It will lower your chance of pregnancy by 99.9%
Yuzpe Method. You can use certain regular contraceptive pills as EC if you follow specific steps (see our “How to use it” section below. It is not as effective as other EC options. Works best up to 3 days following unprotected sex.