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If I start the contraceptive pill straight after having sex, can I still get pregnant?

Yes, you could still become pregnant. To be protected from the first day of taking contraceptive pills, you need to start taking the pills within the first five days of your menstrual cycle. The first day of your menstrual cycle is the first day of your period. This method works best if you have at least a 24 day cycle. If you start on any other day, you may not be fully protected for another week, if you take a combined oral contraceptive pill, so you would need to use alternative methods of contraception during this time. If you started the progestogen only pill outside the first 5 days of your menstrual cycle, you would not be protected from pregnancy for 2 days after taking your first pill, so you should abstain from sex or use alternative methods i.e. condoms for the first couple of days.

If you have unprotected sex, you should use emergency contraception to protect against pregnancy. The morning after pill, ellaOne is effective up to 5 days after having unprotected sex, although it is more effective the earlier your take it. Levonelle, is another type of morning after pill, but is only effective within 3 days of unprotected sex. Alternatively you could get the emergency IUD (copper IUD) fitted within 5 days of unprotected sex. The emergency IUD is the most effective method to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex.

 

Take a look at our article about How to Start Taking the Contraceptive Pill. This will give you information about when you can start taking both the combined oral contraceptive pill and the progestogen-only pill. It also lets you know at what time you will be protected from pregnancy depending upon when you start taking the pill.

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