HomeAnswersObstetrics and Gynecologyemergency contraceptive pillAfter unprotected sex a week ago and no emergency contraceptive pill taken, how can we prevent pregnancy?

How effective is emergency contraceptive pill if taken 15 or 20 days after unprotected intercourse?


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Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At November 13, 2023
Reviewed AtDecember 4, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I had an accidental unprotected sex. It has been a week, and my partner has not taken any emergency contraceptive pills. We are deeply concerned about the possibility of pregnancy. Her most recent period was a month ago, during the last week of the previous month, while the unprotected intercourse took place in the second week of the current month. Could a pill still be effective if taken 15 or 20 days after unprotected intercourse? Please help.

Thank you.


Welcome to Icliniq.com.

I read your query and understand your concern.

Emergency contraception, often referred to as the morning-after pill, is a method of preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. Timing is crucial for its effectiveness, so it is important to act quickly. Here are some key points:

  1. When to take it: Emergency contraception is most effective when taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. There are different types of emergency contraception available, and the timing may vary depending on the type.

  2. Types of emergency contraception: Plan B One-Step (Levonorgestrel 1.5 mg) pills: This is available over-the-counter and is most effective if taken within 72 hours (three days) of unprotected sex and Ella Ulipristal acetate 30 mg): This is available with a prescription and is effective for up to 120 hours (five days) after unprotected sex.

  3. How it works: Emergency contraception prevents pregnancy by either delaying ovulation, inhibiting fertilization, or preventing the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. However, it is not meant to terminate an existing pregnancy.

Keep in mind that emergency contraception should not be used as a regular form of birth control, as it is less effective than regular contraception methods. If you have any further questions or concerns, especially after passing the 72-hour mark, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice based on your specific situation.

I hope this helps.

For further inquiries, feel free to consult me at icliniq.com.

Thank you.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Vandana Andrews
Dr. Vandana Andrews

General Practitioner

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