If you've had unprotected sex for any reason or you suspect your chosen method of contraception has failed (e.g. torn condom or forgotten pill), you can still get contraception which can stop you getting pregnant. An emergency contraceptive is only intended as a backup method when something has gone wrong and is not something you should use regularly.
The most commonly used emergency contraceptive pill contains progestogen only and works by stopping your body releasing an egg. Women should take this type of emergency contraceptive pill as soon as possible after unprotected sex – ideally within 12 hours, but you can take it up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. However there is a newer type of pill now available in some countries which can be used up to 5 days, but you will need to see a doctor. In general though, the sooner a woman takes it, the more effective it will be. After using emergency contraception, you should use another form of contraception for the rest of your cycle to protect yourself if you do not want to become pregnant.