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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.

Sources:

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

https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/emergency-contraception

https://www.familyplanning.org.nz/clinics/services/emergency-contraception-copper-iud

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612 thoughts on “Emergency Contraception

  1. Will it be effective po ba, kung i did used yuzpe method for 2 times in 1 week? Mas mababa po ba yung effectiveness pag pangalawang beses na? And i did puke po, after 4hrs mababawasan po ba yung effectiveness?

    1. Hi, Drea! No, it doesn’t become less effective when you do it multiple times in a week. However, the dizziness and nausea may be worse because you’re taking more pills.

  2. Hi, me and my gf had unprotected sex last Feb 17 and she did the Yuzpe Method less than 24hrs after the deed. Yesterday, Feb 22 she experienced some bleeding and it’s quite heavy and she’s still bleeding today. We don’t know if this is withdrawal bleeding or period since her period is expected on March 13 and she’s not experiencing cramps or any symptoms. May I know what this is and if my gf is safe?

    It would be really great to hear from you. Thank you!

    1. Hi, K! If the flow was as heavy as her period and lasted as long as her usual period, it could be her period. As you may have read in this article, the Yuzpe Method causes slight temporary changes to the menstrual cycle, which could explain the unexpected bleeding.

  3. Hi. Had unprotected sex around 4am and took 6 trust pills (yun kasi nabasa ko sa isang fb group) around 3pm pagkagising ko. Then took another six 3 am next day. Wala ako naramdaman na side effects, is this also normal?

    1. Hi, Dany! Ang side effects po ay hindi naman po nararanasan ng lahat, at depende lang naman po ito sa reaksyon ng iyong katawan sa pills. So okay lang naman po kung hindi kayo nakaranas ng side effects, dahil hindi naman po ito basehan kung naging effective ba o hindi.

  4. Hi, I had unprotected sex last Feb.16 then nagpaconsult ako sa OB the next day. She prescribed me Metoclopramide which needs to take 30 mins. before the Lady Pill. I took the 1st dose at 12:31pm of Feb.17 and then 1:01pm for the 4pcs. Lady Pill. I did not felt any side effects till I took my second dose which is after 12 hours, 12:31am for the Metoclopramide and 1:01am for the Lady Pill. I felt nausea when I woke up 4:30am but I did not vomit, instead I pooped as my stomach was kinda upset at that time. My question is may effect ba or naging less effective ba yung mga meds. since I pooped?

    1. Hi, Naoj! No, the pooping will not affect the efficacy of the Lady Pills because the gap between it and your second dose is already quite long. However, we are not sure whether pooping within the timeframe will affect the efficacy of Metoclopramide.

  5. It’s been 2 weeks after yuzpe and I am experiencing bleeding right now I don’t know if this is withdrawal bleeding or period. I’m supposed to have my period now. There has been a yellowish gray blood clot. May I know what this is and if this is normal?

    1. Hi, Bhie! Yes, it’s normal after doing the Yuzpe Method. Is the flow as strong as your period? If not, it may be withdrawal bleeding. Again, the method is known to temporarily affect the menstrual cycle, so some women experience delayed menstruation 2-3 weeks than usual.

  6. Fertile days po jan 27-feb 8. Nag unprotected sex kami ng jan 7 2am. Bumili ako ng trust pill ethinylestradiol 30mcg / levonorgestrel 125mcg.

    •Effective po ba kung nag yuzpe method around jan 7 10pm tapos ung 2nd dose mga 9am?

    • Due date na po ng period niya sa feb 20. Nag ka dark brown spotting siya nung feb 16.

    Ano po ma advice nyo doc

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi, Lester! Paalala lang po na HINDI kami mga doktor. Base po sa inyong comment, hindi po nasunod nang tama ang Yuzpe Method, na maaaring mapababa nang bahagya ang bisa nito. At kung nabasa niyo rin po ang artikulong ito nang buo, nakasaad po na ang Yuzpe Method ay maaaring makaapekto sa menstrual cycle. Ibig sabihin maaaring madelay nang 2-3 linggo ang regla. Ang spotting po ay may maraming posibleng sanhi, at hindi po namin matutukoy kung ano ang tiyak na sanhi nito.

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