The different types of emergency contraception

Emergency contraception is used after a sexual intercourse in order to avoid unwanted pregnancies. There are different types of contraception which provide the results in different ways. They are discussed below in detail.

Barrier method

Barrier method refers to the use of physical barriers like condoms and cervical caps that directly prevent the sperms from entering the vagina. This method may be comparatively safer for the health as it does not disrupt the naturally occurring hormonal levels of the body. However, it does not guarantee 100 % against child birth control. In fact, if women are using vaginal caps, it is best to have them fitted by a doctor and refitted again from time to time to ensure that it stays secure.

There is also another method that does not involve hormonal changes hormonal changes throughout the body. This involves inserting copper rings that release estrogen and progestin into the vagina. This, however, may not exactly be an emergency contraception as it needs to have been inserted before having sex.


Pills are the most common form of emergency contraception. They can be bought from any medical store without having to produce any sort of prescription or age verification. There are however a few pills that strictly require doctor’s prescription. These pills have to be taken within a stipulated time period as recommended by the manufacturer. Most pills, for example, have to be taken within 72 hours of intercourse. The pills are effective when taken within this time period. However, if it is delayed, there is no guarantee that it will show 100% effectiveness.

There are two types of birth control pills, the ones that are to be taken on a daily basis and the ones that are to be taken only when an intercourse takes place. Both work by altering the hormonal balance of the body.

The pills that are taken on a daily basis will keep the eggs from leaving the ovary and they also tend to thicken the vaginal mucus so that the sperms are unable to sin their way into the uterus. It is best to consult the doctor before settling for any such medication so that there are no serious side effects in the aftermath. However, women taking the daily pills have reported of having had weight gains even though other side effects were not visible.


Estrogen and progestin shots are also very effective in preventing pregnancies. They work in the same way as the emergency pills. The shots can be taken both before and after the intercourse. Depending on the dosage, one shot can last for a couple of months. Shots are also best for those people who may not find it convenient to take a pill each day. For women who are breastfeeding a child, it is best to go for progestin-only shots as this will not affect the quality and quantity of the milk secreted. There are some shots that not only prevent pregnancy but also protect the body from endometrial cancer and iron deficiencies. However, there are a few downsides surrounding the use of shots, which include weight gain and irregular periods.

Contraception – Types and measures to achieve it

Contraception or birth control is a means to prevent pregnancy which works by interfering with the process of ovulation, also called as fertilization or implantation. There are different measures of birth control which can help in achieving contraception. Before taking any preventive measures it is important to understand how the ovulation cycle works.

The Ovulation Cycle

In every month the women’s body release an egg or the ovum which matures, and the mucus is secreted from the cervix which is an organ placed at the lower end of women’s uterus. Further the lining of uterus grows in preparation for receiving a fertilized egg when sperm comes in contact with it. Birth control (contraception) are designed to interfere in the normal process of birth and prevent pregnancy which may occur. There are multiple kinds of birth control measures that can be used at different points during the process, right from ovulation to fertilization till implantation is done. Each method comes with its own consequences and risks. Some of the methods proven to be more reliable are mentioned below.

Oral contraception’s :

They include tablets which is taken by mouth or orally. The birth control pills are the ideal example of Oral contraception’s and must be taken every day. These pills contain estrogen and progestin that are known to suppress ovulation.


  • May cause vomiting, severe diarrhea.
  • Not suitable for overweight women.
  • May have side effects like headache and nausea.


Cervical cap:

These are the soft rubber cap which are placed around the cervix region, also known as Spermicides. The Cervical cap is obtained by doctor’s prescription. They are inserted just before the intercourse. It may be sometimes difficult to insert. The failure rate is between 17-23%, depending on type of cap.


  • You can feel its constant presence and may be irritating at times.
  • Can cause infection if the metal gets corroded from inside.


Female Condom:

This is a condom with lubricated sheath material which is to be inserted in the vagina.It has a shape similar to male condom, and comes with a circular flexible ring.
The Female Condom is applied immediately before the intercourse, and is allowed for single use only. The failure rate is 21 %.


  • May sometimes get pushed within the vagina.
  • It may split or tear during intercourse.


Male Condom:

The Male Condoms are made of Latex or materials like polyurethane sheath and is supposed to be placed over an erect penis before intercourse and is recommended for single use only. They are widely available in any medical drugstores. Condoms give best protection against all kinds of sexually transmitted diseases. But non-latex condoms don’t prevent the spreading of HIV and other STDs.


  • It may slip off or break during intercourse if wrong size used.
  • May prove to be allergic to some people.


Depo-Provera injections:

It’s a hormonal medication injection that inhibits the ovulation process, this injection is obtained by prescription and it taken in every three months. The failure rate is less than 1 percent.


  • May cause irregular periods, weight gain and effects fertility.


Diaphragm with spermicide:

Diaphragm are dome-shaped with rubber disk that can cover the cervix. Diaphragm are given only with prescription. Diaphragms are inserted before the intercourse and should be left in place at least for minimum six hours. The failure rate is about 17 percent.


  • Use of spermicide is must.
  • Size needs to be changed after baby.



The feminine douche is used immediately after the intercourse to wash out the accumulated sperm. But Douching has proved to be ineffective as the sperm travel very quickly to cervix. It has a failure rate of 40 percent.



The intra uterine devices is T-shaped which is inserted in the women’s uterus to avoid pregnancy. IUD’s can be kept in the uterus for the span one, five till 10 years, depending on your need. IUD’s are proved to be safer as they have a failure rate of less than 1 percent. You need to worry about fertility once it’s inserted.


  • Heavy menstrual periods or menstrual cramping may occur with the use of IUD.
  • It may cause spotting or irregular bleeding.


Tubal sterilization:

Surgical Tubal sterilization is a form of surgery done by tying tubes around the cervix. A doctor must perform the sterilization procedure in a hospital or a surgical clinic. The use of anesthesia is must during the surgery. This sterilization may cause infection and bleeding.


  • May cause discomfort.
  • Once opted for you cannot reverse it.
  • Does not protect from STD’s.

Morning-after pill:

Also known as emergency contraceptive pills are similar to the normal birth control pills, with an only difference that it must be consumed within 72 hours or 3 days of having unprotected intercourse. These pills are proven to reduce pregnancy risk up to 80 percent.


Spermicide Alone:

Spermicide is a foam kind of creamy film a bit jelly type, suppository or tablet which contains nonoxynol-9.Spermicide is inserted between five to ninety minutes before the intercourse and must be left in place for six to eight hours post that. Spermicide has a failure rate between 20-50 percent.


  • This tablet causes irritation in vaginal tissues and may increase risk to STD as they don’t kill HIV causing viruses or any other STD causing viruses.
  • Spermicides may be allergic to some people and may beirritating to the skin.

Contraceptive Patch:

The contraceptive patch has a small patch that stick to the skin and controls the release of estrogen and progestrogen. It is proved to stop ovulation giving 99 percent effective. It helps get periods lighter and be more regular. No need to worry about adding or removing it. New patch is added may be once in a week or three times in week, following by no patch for one week.

  • Make cause some problems to smokers and overweight women.
  • Make increase the risk of breast and cervical cancer

May lead to temporary side effects like headaches, mood swings, breast tenderness, and nausea.

Effects of emergency contraception

Emergency contraception pills are birth control pills that can be taken after an unprotected sexual intercourse for preventing unwanted pregnancy. These pills are also known as ECPs (Emergency Control Pills) and the morning after pills and produce results by altering the hormone levels in the body. There are different types of birth control pills that need to be taken within a certain period of having sex. Levonorgestrel for e.g. has to be taken within 72 hours of having sex for maximum effectiveness. Any delay, and the chances of pregnancy will be highly increased. Then there are some pills that can be taken up to 5 days after having sex. These can, however, be purchased only with a doctor’s prescription.

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