Emergency contraception reduces the chance of pregnancy after unprotected sex.
You can take emergency contraception in situations such as when contraception was not used, a condom broke or slipped off, if you were unsure if a condom was used, oral contraception pills were missed, if you think a diaphragm dislodged, etc.
There are two types of emergency contraception:
Emergency contraception pill can work in two ways. If ovulation (the release of an egg from a woman's ovaries) has not already occurred it can delay ovulation so fertilisation can not occur. If ovulation has already occurred, it can stop a fertilised egg being implanted in the uterus. This means that a pregnancy can not develop. The pills do not dislodge an egg that has already been implanted in the uterus.
The risk of pregnancy after taking emergency contraception pill is estimated to be low. It has been shown that the sooner you take the pill after an episode of unprotected sex the more reliable it is. So if you can take it within 12 hours or 24 hours of unprotected sex you significantly increase the chances it will work.
If you take emergency contraception pills you may feel some side effects. Side effects can include nausea and vomiting. Tablets can be taken to prevent the onset of side effects.
It is important that you continue using other contraception during and after taking the emergency contraception pill. If you don't do so you could still become pregnant.
Remember emergency contraception pill is for emergencies only and should not to be used as a regular contraceptive. Keep in mind emergency contraception pills fail to protect you from HIV and other STIs.
If your next period is more than one week late, or you have other concerns, you need to contact your doctor. You need to also consider tests for STIs.
You can get emergency contraception from a pharmacy without a prescription (over the counter) or from a Family Planning NSW clinic or from most Sexual Health Services.