Emergency Contraception

emergency contraceptives, family planning, reproductive health

At A Glance:

  • Contraceptive pills can be used as emergency contraception after unprotected sex to decrease the chances of pregnancy.
  • Should only be used after unprotected sex, if another contraceptive method failed, or if no contraception was used.
  • Pills can be up to 88% effective if taken within 72 hours (three days) after unprotected sex. The sooner, the better.
  • The Yuzpe Method is not guaranteed as effective as daily intake of pills as a regular contraceptive method.

What Is It

Emergency contraception lessens the chances of a woman getting pregnant if taken within the first few days after unprotected sex. It should be taken as a last resort when other contraceptive methods failed or were not used during unplanned sex.

You may want to use it if:

  • you weren’t using any contraceptive when you had sex
  • you forgot to take your pills or use condoms
  • your partner’s condom broke or slipped off
  • your partner didn’t pull out in time or
  • you were forced to have unprotected vaginal sex

Emergency contraceptive pills are also called “morning after pills,” which gives the wrong impression that they should be taken the morning after unprotected sex, when in fact, they can already be taken as soon as possible without having to wait for the morning after.

In the Philippines, the daily oral contraceptive pills available can be used as emergency contraception through a specific method. The Yuzpe Method prevents pregnancy before it happens; it’s a backup plan, and should not be done regularly. If you are interested in taking oral contraceptive pills as a regular method of contraception, consult your healthcare provider to know more. It is also strongly advised to consult a healthcare provider when using the Yuzpe Method.

How It Works

Pregnancy doesn’t happen immediately after sex, which is why preventing it after unprotected sex is still possible. Take note: it can take up to seven days for the sperm cell and egg cell to meet after sex.

Pills prevent the sperm cell and egg cell from meeting and result in pregnancy by releasing a large dosage of the hormones estrogen and progestin in the body. Through this, the egg cell is stopped or delayed from leaving the ovary and traveling to the uterus for fertilization.

The Yuzpe Method lessens the chances of pregnancy to happen if taken within the first few days after unprotected sex; however, how much the chances are reduced depends on how soon the pills are taken after the incident, and at what stage the woman’s menstrual cycle is already when she takes it. The chances of getting pregnant are higher when the woman had unprotected sex during the 2nd or 3rd week of her menstrual cycle; this makes the effectiveness rate not absolute. It’s always better to use a regular form of contraception, such as a condom or the daily oral contraceptive pills.

How To Use It

Do the Yuzpe Method as soon as possible after unprotected sex. Although it can reduce the risk of pregnancy if used within 72 hours after the incident, taking it sooner makes it more effective.

Take four (4) Ethinyl Estradiol 30mcg/Levonorgestrel 150mcg pills as soon as possible. Follow this with another dose of four (4) pills 12 hours later. You should be able to take a total of eight (8) pills.

If vomiting occurs within 2 hours after taking either of the doses, you need to repeat that dose. Remember, the sooner the pills are taken, the better.

It’s normal for your next period to be different from normal after taking emergency contraception.

  • It may come earlier or later than usual
  • It may be heavier, lighter, more spotty, the same as usual

You may also feel dizzy and nauseous after taking the pills.

The Positives

  • Pregnancy can be prevented after unprotected, unplanned or unsolicited sex.
  • Offers more protection and peace of mind than doing nothing.
  • Easy to use.

The Negatives

  • Can cause an upset stomach and vomiting.
  • Could cause breast tenderness, irregular bleeding, dizziness, headaches (short-term), and temporary changes to the menstrual cycle.
  • The Yuzpe Method should be done.


Department of Health. The Philippine Clinical Standards Manual on Family Planning (2014 Edition). Manila, Philippines: DOH. 2014. Pp231-239



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475 thoughts on “Emergency Contraception

  1. Hello! Had intercourse 3 days after my period ended last November and the condm broke.. Drank Lady (trust) pills using Yuzpe method just 3hrs after kami natapos and sumunod po talaga ako sa timing ng pag-inom. After a week, I bled for 4 days parang regular period, but shorter than my usual period na 7 days. I counted this as my December period (so bale 15 days lang nag-last yung cycle). It’s January now and I’m waiting for my next period. I am aware that taking the ECP can throw off my cycle pero gaano po katagal and should I be worried? Babalik pa ba siya sa normal cycle? 2 days late na ako according to my tracker 🙁 Thanks po!

    1. Hi Janina! It really depends on how your body reacts to the pills, and thus we cannot state a specific number or date as to when you can expect your next period or when your cycle will return to normal. Besides the pills, other things can also throw off your menstrual cycle, such as physical activities, stress, changes in diet, and changes in weight. You may also take a pregnancy test if a week has passed and you still don’t get your period.

  2. Hi! Had intercourse the night ofJan 3 which is the 14th day after i had my last period, then took 4 trust pills on the night of Jan 4, took another 4 after 12 hours. Will it take effect on me? CW is 70kgs.

    1. Hi MJ! From your comment, it seems that you have followed all the steps of the Yuzpe Method correctly. Because of that, it will be effective for you. But we’d like to remind you that the Yuzpe Method may cause temporary changes to your next menstrual cycle, such as getting your next period later than usual. Some women even get theirs 2-3 weeks late.

  3. we had a misuse of ccondkm po i ejaculated while using condom pero we believed that a few have slipped off kasi the condom was not intact. We immediately performed 4 and 4 po (trust pills). could it be effective po ba?

    1. hi po,I take 2 trust pills every dose, but have 4 doses with a gap of 12 hours,having it as an equivalent of taking 8 pills all in all,will it still be effective?

  4. Hello. The last day of my period was Dec 31. We had sex Jan 1 afternoon. Is it still effective if ill take it this evening Jan 4. Thank you.

    1. Hi Victoria! It may still offer some protection, but it may not be as effective as doing it within 72 hours after intercourse. It might still be better for you to do it because doing something is better than relying on luck.

  5. Hello po. After taking the 2 doses of Yuzpe Method po, ano po gagawin? Itutuloy po ba yung pills and ilan po ang tatake after Yuzpe?

    1. Hi Daenielle! Kung natapos niyo na po lahat ng hakbang ng Yuzpe Method, hindi niyo na po kailangan inumin ang natitirang pills. Maliban na lang kung nais niyo gamitin ang pills bilang regular na kontrasepsyon. Kung oo, uminom ng isang pill araw-araw sa pare-parehong oras (hal. tuwing 8PM).

  6. Hi, i had my last period last nov 27. I had
    intercourse last dec 4 taken yuzpe last dec 06, and had intercourse last dec 27 taken yuzpe method 4 hours after. Dec 27 is my expected period since i don’t my menstrual cycle but taken yuzpe again. should i expect that it will again delay my period since i tried Pt but had negative result in dec 29. What exact date should i retake PT? Thanks

  7. Hi I did the yuzpe method last dec. 21 and had intercourse on 19. Ever since I’ve been taking the pills regularly. However, I’ve been having pelvic cramps and back pain similar to pms and I am late for 2 days now. I took the preg test and it showed negative.
    -Is the pelvic cramps and backpain normal beacuse maybe my body is adjusting to the birth control pills? Or is it just PMS?
    -Is it too early to take the preg test? and if it is too early how long should I take another test?

    1. Hi H! It may be because your body is still adjusting to the pills. This will eventually go away as you continue taking the pills consistently. Pregnancy tests are usually done if you still don’t have your period after a week has passed since the date you usually get it. If you usually get your period on the 1st day of the month, the pregnancy test should be done on the 8th day. We’d like to remind you that the Yuzpe Method is known for causing delayed periods. Some women even get theirs 2-3 weeks later than usual.

    2. Hi there, its me Again, Not to ask something but just wanna share that Yuzpe method is effective for me. For those whose reading comments just like me before, don’t be an over thinker in everything. I had light bleeding 2 weeks after having unprotected sex. I had my period 10 days late, and I’m currently on my 3 day period now . My period usually last 3-5 days so i can say this is already my period. Thanks for answering all my questions before. Keep safe you all 🙂

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