Emergency Contraception – When is it the Right Choice for You?

September 24, 2021

Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception can be utilized if you’ve ever experienced a situation where your chance of pregnancy has been increased after poorly protected or completely unprotected sex viz. When a condom breaks, you accidentally missed taking your regular form of birth control, or you simply didn’t use a condom and are not utilizing any other form of birth control at the moment.

When people hear the term “emergency” they will often imply that this method has an increased danger level in terms of effects on the body. This is simply not true. Emergency contraception is proven to be safe and is very effective if taken as much as five days post sex.

Emergency contraception is not a form of abortion - it works by preventing or even delaying ovulation which results in sperm not fertilizing the egg. Additionally, people that know of its existence are not aware that a copper IUD is also an emergency contraception method up to 7 days from unprotected intercourse as well as a long-term birth control method.

“Morning After Pills”

“Morning after pills” are the original method of emergency contraception.

In the past, morning after pills were regular birth control pills, taken in higher doses, 12 hours apart. There are better and more effective methods available on the market today, with fewer side effects.

LNG-EC pills (Plan B, Norlevo, Option 2, and Next Choice) all contain a progestin called levonorgestrel. These pills are available in Canadian pharmacies without a prescription. The effectiveness of LNG-EC pills is highest when taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex and declines the later they are taken; but they can be taken up to five days later. LNG-EC pills will not harm the fetus, should it not be able to prevent the pregnancy. A high body weight (a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25) may decrease the effectiveness of these pills, so it is a good idea to speak with a healthcare professional to make sure these pills are the right choice for you.

A second morning after pill, UPA-EC (Ulipristal acetate30 mg, ella®), is now available in Canada, currently by prescription only. It is recommended for its greater effectiveness over a longer period of time after unprotected sex (up to 5 days) and appears to be equally as effective for those who have a higher BMI.

 Using the morning after pill is intended for occasional use only, not as a regular method of birth control

Emergency Contraception Copper IUD

With the ability to be utilized up to 7 days after unprotected intercourse, the Copper IUD is among the most effective methods of emergency contraception.

A copper IUD functions by affecting the sperm. Studies also show that an IUD affects the lining of the uterus as well as the egg itself.

A major benefit of the IUD is that it can be used as both an emergency contraception method as well as a regular form of birth control. It is inserted and can be left in place for as many as 5-10 years depending on the make of the IUD. If one desires to become pregnant, it can simply be removed and allow for pregnancy to occur.


There are still a few things to note with emergency contraception, including some potential side effects such as headache, breast tenderness, dizziness or fatigue, nausea, from the morning after pill and for the IUD, sometimes heavier than normal menstruation or worsened cramps may be the case.


Emergency contraception is safe and effective yet greatly unused by many who may desire it. It is a much better option than simply hoping for the best. With the exclusion of minor potential side effects, there is no increased risk or harm if the pregnancy is not prevented. For the benefits that many women could gain from using emergency contraception, it should become known as a viable option when incidents occur, because sometimes they do!


We offer same-day appointments for Emergency Copper IUD placements (during clinic hours only) - please call us at 604 - 546 2190 . We are here for you.