Emergency contraception: what it is, what methods exist, how to choose the right one

According to the definition of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,

emergency contraception

is any way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse.

Unprotected can be considered sex, in which :

  • did not use contraceptives means - condoms, drugs and intrauterine devices;
  • torn, popped off or used an inappropriate condom;
  • the woman forgot about contraceptives - she was late to take the pill, did not give an injection, did not use the ring or patch;
  • the spermicidal pill or film was not completely dissolved ;
  • the cervical (uterine) cap has displaced, the diaphragm has broken or the intrauterine device has fallen out;
  • there was an error in the calculations with the calendar method of contraception (the essence of the method - in observing the menstrual cycle and refusing sex during ovulation.The method is not very effective - in pairs that regularly use calendar me Tod, become pregnant 24 women out of 100 );
  • failed to interrupt intercourse in time (even with a perfectly executed maneuver, the reliability of this method leaves much to be desired the best - in couples who practice interrupted sexual intercourse, 28 women out of 100 become pregnant.)

According to WHO, emergency contraception avoids pregnancy

at 95 % of cases

of unprotected sex. Although this is not a guarantee of peace, the effectiveness of the method is still five times higher than that of an interrupted intercourse or calendar method.

There are a number of reasons why you need to make an appointment with the gynecologist after unprotected sex (and this is not only a matter of choosing the method of emergency contraception).

World Health Organization (


) and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (


) recommend four methods for emergency contraception. In Russia, only three of them are used (t escorts with ulipristal are not registered in our country ). Let's figure out what is the difference between these methods and in which cases you should resort to them.

Efficiency level .

One of the most reliable

methods of emergency contraception - getting pregnant risks less than

1 of 100 women


What it is and how it works . The fallopian spiral is a plastic device in the form of the letter "T", on a long leg of which a copper wire is wound. Copper slows down the142> sperm movement, reducing the chance of fertilization. But even if fertilization takes place, copper will not allow the embryo to gain a foothold on the inner lining of the uterus.

How to use . The spiral should be set by the doctor. This must be done within five days after sex - in this case, the probability of avoiding conception is the highest. In some studies , the spiral worked 10 days later, but just in case, it is better not to risk it.

"Spirals are not only with copper, but also with hormonal components.

They are suitable for women who regularly have to think about emergency contraception: for example, married women and those who have a regular partner. This reliable, "long-playing" and highly effective method, "adds Tatyana Rumyantseva.

Efficiency level . The second most reliable way that Western leaders recommend is to get pregnant at less than

1 in 100 women


What it is and how it works .

Non-hormonal pills that prevent the exit of an egg from the ovary.

How to use . Drink one tablet for a maximum of five days after sex. The sooner you manage to take the medicine, the higher the effectiveness.

"Ulipristal in our country is not registered as an emergency contraceptive, therefore we should not consider it as a drug of choice," Tatyana Rumyantseva clarifies.

Efficiency level . Pregnancy is at risk

1 in 100 women


What it is and how it works . Hormonal pills that delay the development of the egg> 228> help to avoid fertilization if sex has occurred before ovulation and during it, when the chance of getting pregnant is the highest.

How to use .

Drink the medicine for three days after sex, but the sooner the better. Ideally, you need to use the drug during the day . “Pills with levonorgestrel are considered the most effective in the first three days after unprotected intercourse,” explains Tatyana Rumyantseva.

Efficiency level . Pregnant women are at risk of

1 in 100 women


What it is and how it works . Hormonal pills, the principle of action of which depends on the phase of the cycle. The medicine either delays ovulation or “expels” the embryo from the inner lining of the uterus. Mifepristone tablets are considered one of the most reliable, but they have the most contraindications.

How to use.

Drink the medicine within five days after sex.

"Mifepristone is considered slightly less effective than levonorgestrel, but it remains effective for five days. If more than three days have passed since unprotected sex, you need to think about using this particular drug, "says Tatyana Rumyantseva.

In some cases, the doctor may prescribe combined oral contraceptives, however, this method of emergency contraception is considered

the least reliable

: risk becoming pregnant

2 out of 100 women


WHO Specialists


that means for emergency contraception are safe for health.

Moreover, contraceptives are effective medications, which means that they may have

side effects


In most cases, after taking the tablets, the side effects go away, they do not need to be treated.

Myth No. 1: Emergency contraception is contraindicated in adolescents

This is not so . Doctors around the world believe that premature pregnancy or abortion is much more dangerous for health than emergency contraception.

In addition, to get the pills, the teenager will have to see a doctor - and this further reduces the risk and reduces the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections.

Myth No. 2: Emergency contraception harms unborn children

This is not so. None of the studies revealed risks for children who appeared in women after stopping contraceptives.

Myth No.

3: Emergency contraception increases the risk of infertility

Not a single emergency contraceptive increases future infertility risk.

Myth No. 4: If you drink emergency contraceptive, not knowing about pregnancy, the child will be born a freak

Termination of pregnancy may cause only mifepristone tablets. All other emergency contraceptives do not affect on the pregnancy and development of the child.

Myth No.

5: Emergency contraception increases the risk of an ectopic pregnancy in the future

Everything is exactly the opposite: any contraceptives reduce this risk, because in principle they reduce the chances of getting pregnant.

Myth No. 6: Emergency contraception provokes cancer

The uterine spiral does not provoke cancer - this is unequivocally proven . As for birth control pills, there is debate. Most likely, even if there is a risk, it is extremely insignificant .

- The most reliable way is to wait for the onset of


. Another method is to take a blood test for chorionic hormone (hCG). This analysis confirms the onset of pregnancy, but it makes sense to take it no earlier than 7-10 days after unprotected contact. Ideally, the analysis should be carried out from the first day of delayed menstruation.

It is important to understand that the absence of high levels of hCG in the blood is not a reason to calm down, because in some women the concentration of the hormone rises more slowly.

In this situation, it remains only to wait for menstruation. If the level of hCG is high, this is a clear signal that conception has occurred.

This is a very bad practice. If you know that you will have sex, you need to purchase means for normal contraception in advance: condoms, pills or a spiral. Timely contraception is preferable to emergency.

The most reliable contraceptive tactic is to use products that remain in the woman’s body for a long time: for example, spirals or implants. But if a woman has several partners, then she still can’t get away from condoms, even if she uses some kind of “long-playing” method of contraception. This reduces the risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections.

IMPORTANT! This material is not an advertisement for any medicine. Before using the medication, consult a specialist.



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