Emergency contraception

No contraceptive method is hundred percent safe. A condom may slip or tear. You can forget to take the contraceptive pill. And there may be situations, in which one does not think of protection at all.

However, it is possible to use contraception after an unprotected sexual intercourse to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, either the emergency contraceptive pill or an IUD insertion for emergency contraception .

  • How can I get the emergency contraceptive pill? »

    The emergency contraceptive pill can be bought in a pharmacy; but you need a prescription to buy it. You can get this either from a physician in the Family Planning Centre or pro familia counselling centres, as well as from your own gynecologist. On weekends, you have to visit the gynecologic emergency clinic in a hospital.

    Usually a pelvic exam is not necessary before the prescription of the emergency contraceptive pill. The physician will ask questions concerning your last menstruation as well as what kind of contraceptive failure has happened, so that she can advise you whether you need to take the emergency contraceptive pill. In addition, she may also ask for diseases which might put you at risk for health problems when taking the emergency contraceptive pill.

  • What is the emergency contraceptive pill? »

    The emergency contraceptive pill contains a hormone. It can be taken up to 3 or 5 days after unprotected sexual intercourse, depending on the product. It can prevent an unwanted pregnancy with high reliability.

    The emergency contraceptive pill consists of one tablet. The sooner you take it after unprotected intercourse, the more effective it is.

  • How does the emergency contraceptive pill work? »

    It is not exactly known how it works. It is most likely that pregnancies are mainly prevented through inhibition of ovulation. In case the egg was already fertilized, the emergency contraceptive pill probably can’t prevent a pregnancy any more. It is not effective after the implantation of the egg in the womb. This means that the emergency contraceptive pill does not cause an abortion.

  • How safe is the emergency contraceptive pill? »

    About 70-90 % of unwanted pregnancies can be prevented through the emergency contraceptive pill. However, the sooner the pill is taken after unprotected sexual intercourse, the more effective it is.

    To make sure that it worked, you should have urine testing for pregnancy three weeks after taking the emergency contraceptive pill.

  • How much does the emergency contraceptive pill cost? »

    In the pharmacy, you have to pay between 16 and 18 respectively 35 €. In the Family Planning Centre or in the pro familia counselling centres you need to pay a fee for the medical consultation and prescription of the pill. The consultation at your gynecologist will be covered by your health insurance. In the hospital, you may be charged different medical fees.

  • Can I have the emergency contraception pill prescribed
    just in case? »

    Since it may be very difficult and time-consuming to get the emergency contraceptive pill, especially during the weekend, you should consider keeping a package at home for emergency cases. Since the rapid use of the pill improves its effectiveness, this could make sense for example if you use condoms for contraception.

  • Does the emergency contraceptive pill have any side effects? »

    The new emergency contraceptive pills contain only one hormone, and have hardly any side effects. Light nausea can probably occur, very rarely accompanied by vomiting. During this short-term hormone use health risks are very unlikely.

    Your next menstruation may come either sooner than expected or later; or it may come at the regular time.

    The emergency contraceptive pill called Ellaone® can reduce the effectiveness of other hormonal contraceptives such as pill, patch or vaginal ring. It is recommended to use condoms in addition, until the next menstrual period starts.

  • Better to be safe than sorry »

    Statistics show that many women, who experience an unplanned pregnancy, knew about the emergency contraceptive pill but did not use it despite a contraceptive failure. They hoped everything would be alright or believed not to be able to become pregnant so fast.

    If in doubt, rather take the pill once too often than risk an unwanted pregnancy.

    If you are uncertain get advice from the service line for emergency contraception.

  • What is the IUD for emergency contraception? »

    The IUD for emergency contraception is a normal Copper-IUD, as used for contraception. It can be inserted within five days after having had unprotected sexual intercourse and prevents an unplanned pregnancy with an efficiency of 99%.

    The IUD will be inserted by a gynecologist. You may have cramps during the insertion for some minutes. This can be avoided by a local anaesthesia. After the insertion you may have menstruation pains for some time. These can be relieved with analgesics.

    When you use a Copper-IUD, your menstruation may often become stronger and sometimes more painful. Because of Side effect and risks, the IUD should be used for emergency contraception only if the woman would like to use it for further contraception.


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