Accidents happen. That’s why there’s emergency contraception — a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy up to 5 days after unprotected sex.

Emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs), sometimes simply referred to as emergency contraceptives (ECs) or the "morning-after pill" are birth control measures that may be used after sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy. These are medications intended to disrupt or delay ovulation or fertilisation, which are necessary for pregnancy. ECP and abortion pills are not the same. ECP works by preventing or delaying ovulation and therefore preventing pregnancy, not by abortion. 

You can use emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy if:

  • You didn’t use a condom or other birth control method when you had vaginal sex 
  • You messed up your regular birth control (forgot to take your birth control pills, change your patch or ring, or get your shot on time)
  • You had vaginal sex your condom broke or slipped off after ejaculation (cumming) 
  • Your partner didn't pull out in time you were forced to have unprotected vaginal sex

If you use emergency contraception correctly after you have unprotected sex, it makes it much less likely that you’ll get pregnant. But don’t use it regularly as your only protection from pregnancy, because it’s not as effective as regular, non-emergency birth control methods (like the IUD, pill, or condoms).

There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to birth control. It’s important to find the method that fits into your life.