Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session 10

Now that you have completed this study session, you can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes by answering these questions. Write your answers in your Study Diary and discuss them with your Tutor at the next Study Support Meeting. You can check your answers with the Notes on the Self-Assessment Questions at the end of this Module.

SAQ 10.1 (tests Learning Outcome 10.1)

Identify the main reasons for using emergency contraceptives.


The main reasons for using emergency contraception are:

  • When a women has not used contraceptives prior to sexual intercourse.
  • If sexual intercourse has been forced or coerced.
  • If the client has incorrectly used a contraceptive method.

SAQ 10.2 (tests Learning Outcome 10.2)

Describe the mechanism of action of emergency contraceptives.


Emergency contraceptives work by:

  • Suppression of ovulation.
  • Thickening of cervical mucus to make it difficult for sperm penetration.
  • Thinning the endometrial lining of the uterus to prevent the fertilised egg from attaching and developing.

SAQ 10.3 (tests Learning Outcomes 10.2 and 10.3)

  • a.What are the key time limits when taking emergency contraception?
  • b.What should you do if the client fails to menstruate following emergency contraception?


  • a.It should be as soon as possible after unprotected sex and must be within five days following unprotected sexual intercourse.
  • b.If your client has failed to menstruate a week or more following emergency contraception, she may be pregnant. You can refer her for a pregnancy test to confirm the pregnancy. If the client is pregnant, you can tell her the available options, and ask her to choose the most appropriate option for her situation. If the client would like to continue with the pregnancy, you can reassure her that emergency contraceptive pills will not have harmed the fetus.

SAQ 10.4 (tests Learning Outcome 10.2)

At what time intervals should the two recommended doses of emergency contraceptive pills be taken after a woman has had unprotected sexual intercourse?


The first dose must be within five days of unprotected sexual intercourse, if possible within 24 hours (depending on the types of emergency contraceptive used). The second dose should be taken 12 hours after the first dose.

SAQ 10.5 (tests Learning Outcome 10.4)

W/ro Almaz comes to you with side-effects, complaining of nausea and vomiting after taking emergency contraceptive pills. What do you advise her to do?


In the case of nausea, advise her to take the pills with food or milk. In the case of vomiting, give her an additional dose of ECPs, because the pill may have been vomited out without being absorbed in the stomach. If she vomits continuously, advise her to put the same dose of the pill in her vagina, from which it will be absorbed into the bloodstream.

SAQ 10.6 (tests Learning Outcomes 10.2 and 10.3)

How long do emergency contraceptive pills protect a woman from pregnancy?


Women who take ECPs should understand that they could become pregnant the next time they have sex unless they begin to use another method of contraception at once. This is because ECPs delay ovulation in some women. So they may be most fertile soon after taking ECPs. If a woman wants ongoing protection from pregnancy, she must start using another contraceptive method at once.

SAQ 10.7 (tests Learning Outcomes 10.2 and 10.4)

W/ro Lule, a 32-year old woman in your community who has just taken her second dose of emergency contraceptive pills four days after unprotected sexual intercourse, comes to you complaining of a very strong headache. How would you handle her concern?


Tell W/ro Lule that headaches are a possible side-effect of using emergency contraceptive pills, and that it will not last long. For pain relief, offer her either Aspirin (300 mg), Ibuprofen (400 mg), or Paracetamol (500 mg).

Summary of Study Session 10