Practical Considerations about Covid-19. Click here to Learn more

Doc's Corner: 'Pregnant despite Contraception'

Falling pregnant despite contraception - a young couple's dread.

Here's a troubling enquiry from a couple who hit a snag after emergency contraception failed.......

"Hello doc, How on earth is it possible for someone to get pregnant after using a condom during sex and taking Postinor-2 immediately after?"

Doctor's Corner

Neither of these two methods is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy.  

In fact, no method is absolutely effective - except abstinence.

How Could You Get Pregnant Despite Contraception With Condoms?

Condoms are reported as being around 82% effective when used properly - and most times they are probably not used properly.

They could be torn when being opened or burst/ripped during use - especially if they are old or have been stored incorrectly before use.  

Pregnant Despite Contraception

I Thought The Emergency Contraception Pill is "Failure-proof"

Actually, No.

Postinor-2 is an emergency contraceptive pill that is effective in delaying ovulation (ie the release of a woman's egg).

Postinor-2 contains Levonorgestrel; an oestrogen-containing drug usually meant to be taken as soon as possible following sexual intercourse; with a second dose 12 hours after the first.

Its effectiveness can be dependent on the time of the woman's cycle it is taken.  

For many women, it is most effective usually when taken immediately after sex - during the time just before the middle of her cycle or the first 11-12 days after she completes her menstrual flow/period.

If the lady has ALREADY ovulated in that cycle - so it's more than 12 days or more after she completed her period - Postinor-2 may not work.

Another effect of Postinor-2 is that it can interfere with the transport of the egg and sperm and so prevent fertilisation.


Getting Pregnant Despite Contraception With The Emergency Pill.

So if a lady has already ovulated when she has intercourse, taking Postinor-2 could prevent the sperm from fertilizing the egg and prevent pregnancy.

On average, Postinor-2 has an 85% chance of preventing pregnancy.

If taken within 24 hours (recommended), there is a 95% chance of preventing pregnancy.

If taken after 48-72 hours, there is a 58% chance. 

It is not known whether it is effective if taken more than 72 hours after unprotected intercourse.

So Which Contraception Methods Are Most Effective?

The most effective way to prevent pregnancy is the use of regular hormonal contraception - the current methods with the best effectiveness rates (99%) are:

  • the Implant,
  • Intrauterine device or
  • Sterilisation.


In line with your fertility plan, what contraceptive would you rather use: Postinor 2, implant or intrauterine device? If you find this article helpful, also share your comments in the comment box below.

To provide more information in this area - read this e-book: Ten common questions for Preventing Pregnancy Safely.

Have you any questions about emergency contraception? Share in the comments.

Read More

Editing By AskAwayHealth


All AskAwayHealth articles are written by practising  Medical Practitioners on a wide range of health care conditions to provide evidence-based guidance and to help promote quality health care. The advice in our material is not meant to replace the management of your specific condition by a qualified health care practitioner.
To discuss your condition, please contact a health practitioner or reach us directly through

Image Credits – Canva

Related Post

Founder's Corner
Dr Sylvia Kama-Kieghe

Founder, AskAwayHealth

More Details

2 thoughts on "Doc’s Corner: ‘Pregnant despite Contraception’"

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Need more

Ask Here

Would you like to consult with a doctor? (UK patients only)

Get e-Consultation Now