226 Family Planning
➤ Emergency family
should not be used
in place of other
how to take
how to know
if you are at risk
for an STI
Emergency methods are ways for women to avoid pregnancy
after having unprotected sex. They are only effective if used
soon after having sex.
Emergency methods are safe and effective. But they are
not as effective as consistent use of the other family planning
methods discussed in this chapter and they can cause
unpleasant side effects.
The pills used for emergency family planning are often the
same birth control pills that some women take each day. But
in emergencies, you take a much higher dose for a short time.
There are now also special emergency pills that have the high
dose in 1 or 2 pills. For any of these, you must take the pills
within 5 days of having unprotected sex. The sooner you take
the pills after unprotected sex, the more likely it is you will
not get pregnant (see page 522). If you are already pregnant,
taking emergency pills will not end the pregnancy or cause
Until your next monthly bleeding, you should
use a barrier method of family planning, like
condoms, or not have sex. After your monthly
bleeding, you can use any family planning method
Your next monthly bleeding should begin in
about 2 weeks. If it does not, you may have
become pregnant despite the emergency
family planning. You should continue to
use a barrier method of family planning
until you know for sure.
Other emergency methods
IUD (Intra-Uterine Device): A Copper-T IUD can
also keep the egg from attaching to the womb wall.
• The IUD must be inserted by a specially trained health
worker within 5 days after having unprotected sex. The IUD
can be kept in and continue to protect you from pregnancy
for up to 10 or 12 years. Or you can have the IUD
removed after your next monthly bleeding when it is certain
you are not pregnant. Do not have an IUD inserted if you
think you might have an STI.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012