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Emergency contraceptive pill


What is an Emergency Contraceptive Pill?

Emergency contraceptive pills are taken when you forget to use contraception during sex or if the used contraception has failed. These pills help in preventing pregnancy by either delaying the release of eggs by ovaries or by stopping fertilisation or by not letting the fertilised egg implant itself in the uterus. There are three types of pills: 

  • Levonorgestrel based (to be used within 72 hours of unprotected sex)

  • Ulipristal acetate based (to be used within 120 hours of unprotected sex)

  • Combined oral contraceptive (to be used within 120 hours of unprotected sex)

ECP do not cause abortion in an already pregnant woman, neither does it harm the embryo. 

Effectiveness: 95-98% effective

How long does it Last: As the name suggests, emergency pills are for emergency use only (unprotected sex or if the contraception fails) and they should be taken within 72 hours after sex. The sooner you take it, the better it is. 
If you have unprotected sex after taking the pill, you can still get pregnant. The pill will not be effective for such a situation.


Cost: INR 55 to INR 110 per pill

Where to Buy: Available at Pharmacy

STD Protection: No

Safe During Pregnancy: No

Side Effects: 

  • Irregular vaginal bleeding/spotting

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Slight pelvic pain

  • Irregular and painful menstruation for about the next 1-2 month/s

  • Mood swings

  • In very rare scenario, fertilised egg may get implanted outside uterus (ectopic pregnancy)

When to Avoid: 

  • In cases of high blood pressure and high cholesterol

  • Family history of breast/cervical cancer

It is suggested to wait for 6 weeks after childbirth before you take an emergency contraceptive pill again.


How to use emergency contraceptive pills (ECP)
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