Emergency Contraception can help prevent unplanned pregnancies if used as soon as possible (from immediately to within 5 days) after sexual activity that could result in pregnancy. The effectiveness of each method decreases with time.
These are some situations when ECP might used:
• No birth control was used
• Missed birth control pills, patch or ring
• Illness that caused vomiting shortly after taking a birth control pill
• A condom broke, leaked or fell off inside or close to the vagina
• IUD was expelled unexpectedly
• A diaphragm or cervical cap was dislodged or removed too early
• An error was made in the Fertility Awareness Method
• After non-consensual sexual activity (sexual assault)
Emergency Contraception Pills (ECP)
Common brand names include “Plan B”, “Next Choice” (there are also generic brands) and all contain a large dose of levonorgestrel (a progestin) that works similarly to the birth control pill by preventing ovulation, thickening cervical fluid and thinning the lining of the uterus. Another option available by prescription only is “Ella” which contains ulipristal acetate.
Emergency contraception is an over-the-counter medication, no prescription needed (it may be behind the counter) and can be purchased at any drug store, costing anywhere from $17 – $45. Emergency contraception is also available from Region of Waterloo Public Health’s Sexual Health Clinic for $15.00. With a prescription, the cost of Plan B may be covered for people eligible for OHIP+ and Ontario Drug Benefits (ODB).
Be aware that ECP is less effective in people over 165 lbs and may not be effective in people over 175lbs.
A copper IUD can also be used as emergency contraception if inserted within five days after unprotected sex. This is the most effective type of emergency contraception. SHORE Centre offers copper IUD insertions for this purpose at our Kitchener location.
Alternatively, an emergency contraceptive pill (AKA the morning-after pill, Plan B) can be taken within 120 hours (5 days) after having unprotected sex. Emergency contraception pills can be purchased at most pharmacies without a prescription.
Please contact SHORE Centre at 519-743-9360 to book an appointment for an IUD insertion for the purpose of emergency contraception.