Accidents can happen and sometimes sperm can enter the vagina without you meaning it to, such as when a condom breaks, and you’re not protected by a contraceptive. There are other instances when you worry you could get pregnant, such as you’ve missed a contraceptive pill. When these kinds of scenarios occur, you might be looking for ways to reduce your risk of conceiving.


Below, you can find out what you can do after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy.


Does peeing after sex prevent pregnancy?


Going for a wee after sex will not help to prevent an unwanted pregnancy . This is a myth, though it’s not certain where the idea came from.


When a man ejaculates during sex, the sperm goes into the vagina and up through the cervix to enter the uterus. From here, it travels to your fallopian tubes and may meet a mature egg if one has been released from your ovaries. However, your urethra, where you wee out of, is a separate opening that leads to your bladder and your kidneys.  


Going to the toilet after intercourse, however, is recommended for reducing the risk of urinary tract infections (UTIs) . Women are particularly prone to these infections because of how short the urethra is and its proximity to the anus, and bacteria can be carried from the latter to the former, which is what can cause such infections.


For women that suffer from regular UTIs, there are some preventative measures that are recommended, such as wiping from front to back after going to the toilet, using cotton underwear and avoiding feminine hygiene products that contain soaps, fragrances and alcohol. Weeing immediately after sexual intercourse may also help to reduce your chance of infection. This is because it helps to flush out any bacteria that may have entered the urethra during intercourse. If your UTIs don’t improve or still come back regularly, you should seek further advice from a pharmacist or doctor.  


Does douching prevent pregnancy?


Douching involves spraying a jet of liquid directly up the vagina. While some women use this as a way of cleaning this area, it isn’t recommended by doctors. Your vagina is extremely sensitive and has a precise balance of bacteria inside it that can protect it from infection and keep it clean. Douching can upset this balance and also alter its pH level. 


Douching is not an effective way to prevent pregnancy. While the solution is directly applied up the vagina, sperm can enter the uterus just minutes after sexual intercourse and it is impossible to remove sperm from the vagina completely once it has entered. 


Taking emergency contraception 


Weeing after sex and douching are not effective ways of removing sperm from the body to prevent pregnancy. So what can you do if you think there’s a risk of conception?


Emergency contraception (EC) is the only effective method you can use to prevent pregnancy after sperm has entered the vagina during unprotected sex. There are two main types of EC currently available: the morning after pill and the intrauterine device (IUD or coil).


The “morning after” pill


The emergency contraceptive pill, colloquially known as the morning after pill, can help protect you from pregnancy after you’ve had unprotected sex. There are two main types: a levonorgestrel pill (which must be taken within 72 hours) and a ulipristal acetate tablet (which must be taken within 120 hours).


Taking either of these pills can prevent the release of an egg, which is what makes them effective at preventing pregnancy after you’ve had unprotected sex.


It’s also worth noting that these pills can interfere with your typical method of hormonal contraception, if you’re taking something already. They can make your contraception less effective or your contraception could make the morning after pill less effective. You may need to use an additional barrier method of contraception, such as a condom or stop taking your current pill, for a few days to ensure you stay protected from pregnancy.  This all depends on the type of contraceptive you are using and you should talk to your pharmacist who will give you advice.


If you are taking Lovima® or are wanting to start Lovima® after you have taken an emergency contraceptive pill then you will need to follow the below advice.



When to start taking Lovima® 75 microgram film-coated tablets

Additional contraception

Have taken levonorgestrel

Start or continue taking Lovima® immediately.

Use additional barrier contraception (condom) for seven days.

Have taken ulipristal

Delay taking Lovima® until five days (120 hours) after taking ulipristal. This is because Lovima® can stop ulipristal working, and vice versa.

Use additional barrier contraception (condom) for five days after taking ulipristal and then for a further seven days after starting Lovima®. That is 12 days in total.


If you find that you’re regularly forgetting to take your pill, you should try to take it at the same time every day or set an alarm to remind you.


The IUD or coil


The intrauterine device (IUD) is a contraceptive that is inserted directly into the uterus. It’s usually a T shape and is made from plastic and copper. It’s the copper element that prevents an egg from being fertilised or from implanting itself into your uterus.


An IUD can be used as emergency contraception when it is fitted by a medical professional up to five days (120 hours) after you’ve had unprotected sex (or up to five days after the earliest time you could have released an egg). Should you have an IUD fitted as a form of emergency contraception, you can choose to keep it in and continue to use it as contraception in the future.


The morning after pill or the IUD can be obtained at a contraception clinic, sexual health clinic, walk-in centre or through your GP. The IUD needs to be fitted by a nurse or doctor, and this can’t be done at a pharmacy. The morning after pill can be acquired at a pharmacy, however.


If you’re using condoms as your only contraceptive method, you may wish to consider taking a hormonal contraceptive as well, such as the pill, the implant or the patch. These will provide extra protection should a condom break during intercourse or sperm accidentally enter the vagina.



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