Guidelines for emergency contraceptive
How does emergency contraception work?
Emergency contraception is sometimes also called, ‘the morning after pill’. It is a hormonal combination very similar to birth control pills which aims to prevent the release of an egg for ovulation in a specified time window after unprotected sex.
How quickly should you take emergency contraception?
Ideally, within 24 hours but the window lasts for 72 hours but the sooner the better. If you take the morning after pill within 72 hours of unprotected sex then the risk of pregnancy is somewhere between 1% and 2%.
Is emergency contraception just for those who have not used other forms of protection?
There are many reasons why people resort to emergency contraception. A sudden realisation that you have forgotten to take the birth control or contraceptive pill is one or, taking antibiotics whilst on the pill is another and one that people sometimes forget about. But it could be something as simple as a ripped or torn condom or a condom coming off and a desire to want to be absolutely certain that there is no risk of pregnancy.
There are several different kinds of pill, the first type is a pill containing Levonorgestrel which is sold under different brand names like ‘My Way’, ‘Take Action’ and ‘Preventeza’ all available over the counter from your pharmacist. Some are sole pills, others are a two-dose packet. Always follow the instructions exactly. Age can be a determinant so if you are under 17 years old, some of these products are only available with a prescription.
Contraceptive pills which are a combo of oestrogen and progesterone can be taken at a higher dose within 3 to 5 days of unprotected sex and act as emergency protection but they can be less effective. There is a third type of pill which does not contain hormones but uses a drug called Ulipristal Acetate that acts as a hormone blocker, this can be effective for up to 5 days after unprotected sex. This medication is prescription only.