ASK AN OBGYN: Is There a More Effective “Morning-After” Method?


Dear SuzyKnew Obgyn:

Besides Plan B (also called the morning-after pill), is there any other way to prevent pregnancy if you’ve had unprotected sex?




Dear LaVinia,

Thank you for your question.  Yes, there are other ways to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex.  One that has been successfully used for over 35 years is the intrauterine device (IUD).  Inserted within 5 days of unprotected sex, the IUD can reduce the incidence of pregnancy by 99%.

A study published May 5 online in the journal Human Reproduction, reviewing over 35 years of data in 6 countries on the use of  IUD’s as an emergency contraceptive, indicates that IUDs are actually more effective than the morning-after pill. Although getting an IUD inserted requires a doctor’s visit and more upfront money  than the morning-after pill, which only requires a trip to the pharmacy and a few dollars or pounds, the IUD – a long-term method – is a lot more cost-effective in the long run. This means, if leave an IUD inserted (IUDs can remain in place for more than 8 years), it will only cost you pennies per pleasure session!

While many providers in the US (unlike in the UK) may not mention this discreet medical device as an emergency contraceptive or “morning after” option , take it upon yourself to ask your health care provider to discuss using an IUD for EC the next time the occasion arises.

P.S.  To protect yourself from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, you’ll still need condoms with an IUD until you both have a recent HIV test. Keep it safe, ladies!


ASK AN OBGYN is not meant to be a substitute for your doctor or health care provider. Contact your provider with any health issues you may have.