What are Emergency Contraceptives?

Emergency Contraceptives are pills that a woman can use to prevent pregnancy after she has had unprotected sex. They are sometimes called the morning after pill or the EC pill.

What is Unprotected Sex?

Unprotected sex occurs when people have sex without a condom or another contraceptive method. People have unprotected sex because —

  • They did not plan to have sex
  • They were pressured into having sex
  • The condom they were using burst during sex.

How Do You Use It?

With the EC Pill, timing is Everything. Take the EC pill within three days after having unprotected sex. The sooner you take the pill after unprotected sex, the more effective it is in preventing pregnancy.


A woman produces an egg every month. If this egg meets a man’s sperm, the sperm will fertilize the egg and she will become pregnant. The EC pill prevents pregnancy by delaying the release of the egg and preventing the sperm from fertilizing the egg.

You have two main options because the EC pill comes in two different strengths. They are both easy to use.

In the first option, you take a single pill within three days after unprotected sex and you will be protected from pregnancy. That is all you need to do to prevent pregnancy.

In the second option, you take one pill within three days after unprotected sex and take the second pill twelve hours later. This is all you need to do to prevent an unwanted pregnancy.

If you need more advice, speak to your nurse, doctor or family planning association.

If you take the EC pill as directed, it is 98 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. It is most effective if taken within three days of unprotected sex. The sooner you take it, the more effective it is. The longer you wait the less effective it becomes.

YES! You can get EC Pills in advance. Having them in advance will make it easier for you to take it immediately if you have unprotected sex.

Remember Timing is Everything. The sooner you take the emergency contraceptive pill, the more effective it is

EC Pills have very few side effects. Some women experience nausea or spotting or find that their period may come early. Do not worry. These will go away.

If your period is late, contact your health provider to make sure you are not pregnant.

No. The EC Pill will not affect your ability to get pregnant. If you have unprotected sex after taking EC pills, you can become pregnant.

No, the EC Pill does not cause abortions. In fact, if you are pregnant, the EC pill will not hurt your pregnancy.

NO! The EC pill WILL NOT protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. Saying No to Sex or using a condom correctly every time you have sex will protect you from sexually transmitted diseases.

The emergency contraceptive pill will give you back control over your life. Having a child is a big deal. Every Woman has the Right to choose when to have a child. Exercise that Right.

If you have unprotected sex, do not hesitate. Go straight to your family planning association or health provider and ask for the emergency contraceptive pill. They are there to serve you.

Some women hope that they will not get pregnant. Others feel ashamed to admit that they had unprotected sex. Still, others, do not want people to know about their personal lives. These feelings cause young women to put off going for the EC pill and this puts them at risk of an unplanned pregnancy. Do not take that risk. Use the EC Pill as soon as possible.

Where Can I get the EC Pill? You can get the EC pill from your pharmacy or family planning association. The people at family planning are trained to talk to you about family planning, provide you with the EC pill and advise you on how to use it

* Remember: There is NO SHAME in making a mistake. The EC pill gives you the power to correct.

Yes! The EC pill can be used up to five days after unprotected sex. But, remember, timing is Everything. The sooner you take the EC pill, the more effective it is in preventing pregnancy.