two small white pills in a package

Can I take an e-pill before sex?

The emergency contraceptive pill is meant to be taken within 5 days after unprotected sex. Yet, Naomi wonders whether it is okay to take the pill before sex. Is it okay?

No, it is not recommended.

The pill is designed to be taken within 5 days AFTER having unprotected sex, and the manufacturers don’t recommend taking the pill before sex.

Also, if you take it beforehand, you might as well choose a better contraceptive option, like a condom.

The progestogen-only pill stops ovulation while also releasing a hormone that makes it harder for sperm to travel up toward the egg. You get either two doses of 0.75mg each that you have to take 12 hours apart or as a single dose.

The longer you wait before taking e-pills, the less effective they are. They are most effective if taken within 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex. If taken later than that your chances of getting pregnant are higher.

Progestogen-only pills work less well for women who are overweight. If you have a body mass index (BMI) higher than 35 then it is suggested to use the Copper IUD as emergency contraception.

Don’t know your BMI? Use a calculator to figure it out!

Progestogen-only pills can even be used several times in one cycle if needed, though they should not be used as a normal form of birth control. For more regular forms of birth control check out our section on birth control methods.

Remember: you can always get the emergency contraceptive pill in advance of having unprotected sex if you are concerned that your current contraceptive method may fail.

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LoveMatters Africa

Blush-free facts and stories about love, sex, and relationships