Emergency contraception may be needed in a variety of situations where there’s a risk of unplanned pregnancy- unprotected sex, a missed pill, a burst condom. The morning after pill is the most commonly used type of emergency contraception, though it is important to note it is not just for the morning after sex has occurred- it can be taken at any time of day, for a few days afterwards. The time frame during which the morning after pill will be effective depends on the type of pill- ideally it should be taken as soon as possible.
The morning after pill contains a form of progesterone, and works by preventing the release of an egg from the ovary and/or by making it less likely that sperm will fertilise an egg. The morning after pill does not cause an abortion if pregnancy has already begun.
Another option for emergency contraception is the copper coil. This small device can be inserted into the uterus by a specially trained nurse or doctor. This option is possible for up to 5 days after unprotected sex has occurred. It can be left in position for 5 to 10 years as a contraceptive device- the length of time depends on the particular type of coil used.