Summary of Study Session 10

In Study Session 10, you have learned that:

  1. Emergency contraception (EC) is a method used to prevent the possibility of unwanted pregnancy, and is effective up to five days following unprotected sexual intercourse.
  2. Unprotected sexual intercourse means that either a couple did not use any contraceptive method to prevent pregnancy, or their birth control method failed (for example, a condom breaking or slipping).
  3. Combined emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs) are formulations of oestrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and progesterone (levonorgestrel or norgestrel).
  4. The progestin-only pill consists of levonorgestrel. It is less effective than the combined pill, but has a lower incidence of side effects.
  5. A copper-bearing IUCD can be used within five days of unprotected sexual intercourse as an emergency contraceptive. It works primarily by interfering with the sperm so it doesn’t reach the egg, and subsequently by preventing the fertilised egg from implanting in the uterus.
  6. Common side-effects from using ECPs are nausea and vomiting. Other side-effects include breast tenderness, headaches, abdominal pain, dizziness and fatigue. These side-effects usually resolve themselves, or last less than two days.

10.4  Management of common side-effects

Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 10