Emergency Contraception

Photos by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition

Emergency Contraception can help prevent pregnancy 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

Emergency Contraception Pills (ECP)

Common brand names include “Plan B”, “Next Choice” (there are also generic brands) and all contain 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. Prescriptions for emergency contraception are available from Region of Waterloo Public Health’s Sexual Health Clinic. With a prescription, the cost of Plan B or Ella may be covered for people eligible for OHIP+ and Ontario Drug Benefits (ODB).

Be aware that some methods of ECP can be less effective for people over 165 lbs and may not be effective for people over 175 lbs.

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

An IUD can be inserted by a health care provider into the uterus within 5 days of unprotected sexual activity to prevent pregnancy. Your health care provider will review which IUD option is best for you. This is the most effective type of emergency contraception. SHORE Centre offers IUD insertions for this purpose at our Kitchener location. Your SHORE clinician will will review which IUD option is best for you, and we hold emergency appointments when an IUD is needed for emergency contraception.

Please contact SHORE Centre at 519-743-9360 to book an appointment to get a prescription for ECP or book an IUD insertion for emergency contraception. 

Need Emergency Contraception?

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