Emergency contraception is recommended for the prevention of a pregnancy within 120 hours (5 days) of unprotected sexual intercourse, particularly in the following situations:
Emergency contraception works before pregnancy can occur by preventing the release of an egg (ovulation). It cannot terminate or interrupt an established pregnancy nor harm a developing embryo.
Emergency contraception will not work if you are already pregnant.
Emergency contraception is available without a prescription from most pharmacies and clinics. A pharmacist may not sell emergency contraception to you if you are under the age of 12, unless you have a doctor’s prescription or are accompanied by either a parent or legal guardian*.
* National Contraception and Fertility Planning Policy and Service Delivery Guidelines, Department of Health, A Companion to the National Contraception Clinical Guidelines, Republic of South Africa 2012, page 44
Emergency contraception is available at most pharmacies and clinics throughout South Africa. If you are under 12, it is advisable that you visit your local doctor or family planning clinic for advice.
Efficacy is higher when emergency contraception is used as early as possible.
Remember, emergency contraception does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) such as HIV/AIDS.