If you have had unprotected sex, or if the condom you were using broke, if you act quickly, then emergency contraception will usually prevent a pregnancy. There are two methods of emergency contraception, namely pills containing the hormone progestogen, and the IUD or intrauterine device. The pills should be taken within three days of unprotected sex, and the IUD fitted within five days of unprotected sex.
 
The sooner the pills are taken, the more effective they are. If taken within 24 hours after sex, nine out of ten pregnancies are prevented. The pills stop or delay ovulation, and prevent an egg from settling in the womb. After taking the pill, you normally get your periods within a few days of when you expect it.
 
If inserted within five days of unprotected sex, an IUD is 98% effective. They are fitted by a trained doctor or nurse and can be removed during your next period if you prefer. IUD’s stop and egg from being fertilised and settling in the womb.
 
Both these methods have advantages and disadvantages. Neither of the two methods has any serious side effects. The pills can be safely taken by most women and IUD’s are useful if you are too late in taking the pill, if you don’t want to take hormones, or don’t want to use a long-term method of contraception. Emergency pills sometimes cause women to have headaches, breast tenderness, abdominal cramps, and a few feel nauseous or vomit. Most people can use the emergency pill, but the IUD is not ideal for everyone. Emergency pills can be taken more than once, but are not as effective as regular methods of contraception.

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