7 surprising facts about emergency contraception

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  • Did you know all of this?

    No matter what contraception you use, whether it’s condoms, the contraceptive pill, or natural family planning, we’re lucky enough to be able to access the morning after pill if we ever need it.

    But it turns out, you probably don’t know everything you need to know about emergency contraception, morning after pill ellaOne gives us the lowdown.

    7 facts about emergency contraception

    There is more than one type of emergency contraception available

    There are two forms of emergency contraception that can be used after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. These are, the morning after pill and the emergency IUD – also known as ‘the emergency coil’.

    You can buy the morning after pill online

    Only 7% of women are aware that it is possible to order the morning after pill online. (Head to the ellaOne website for a list of reputable online pharmacies offering this service)

    You can buy the morning after pill in advance of need

    You can get the morning after pill in advance so that you have a ‘just in case provision’ to hand in your medicine cabinet. This means you can take it as quickly as possible should you ever need to in the future.

    You don’t need a doctor’s appointment

    If you need emergency contraception you can head straight to the pharmacy to get the morning after pill after a quick consultation with the pharmacist – you don’t need to get a prescription from your doctor, although it is also possible to go down this route too.

    It works by delaying ovulation

    The morning after pill does not cause an ‘emergency period’ or an abortion, it actually works by delaying egg release (ovulation). This means that the sperm waiting in the fallopian tubes will be unable to meet an egg and fertilise it. This is similar to regular contraceptive pills, which mostly work by preventing egg release. If you are already pregnant, emergency contraception will not interrupt your pregnancy.

    Your fertility can come back very quickly after using the morning after pill

    Emergency contraception has no effect on future fertility. It will not protect you from pregnancy if you have unprotected sex again several days after taking it.

    If you want to have sex after using emergency contraception, use a barrier method of contraception until your next period.

    You don’t have to take it the morning after

    Although oral emergency contraceptive pills must be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex, don’t panic if you haven’t been able to get it immediately. ellaOne (ulipristal acetate) can be taken within five days (120 hours) of unprotected sex and levonorgestrel containing emergency contraceptive pills can be taken within 3 days (72 hours) of unprotected sex. Both pills work by preventing or delaying ovulation and must therefore be taken as soon as possible as they are not effective if ovulation has already taken place. The emergency IUD can be inserted up to five days after unprotected sex or up to five days after the earliest time you could have ovulated.

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