Unplanned pregnancies happen more often than you may think, with recent studies showing that as many as four in ten pregnancies in the UK are unplanned. Emergency contraception is used by thousands in the UK and around the world as an 'emergency' measure if other contraceptive methods have failed or if you had unprotected sex and you feel you may fall pregnant.There are currently two emergency contraception types available often referred to as the 'morning-after pill' and IUD. Depending on when you had sex, both types have varying usage deadlines but are both very effective on preventing pregnancy.
If you are worried that you might be pregnant, we provide a secure and convenient consultation process online, if you would prefer not to obtain an emergency contraceptive pill (morning after pill) via a face-to-face consultation. By completing our quick confidential consultation, you may be approved emergency contraception within 24 hours.
These are contraceptive methods that help to prevent pregnancy in a woman if she has had unprotected sex or whereby the contraceptive method applied has failed e.g. Missed pill or split condom. They are usually available in pill form, similar to the the hormonal contraceptive pills. It is also worthwhile to note that an emergency contraceptive (morning after pill) does not protect against STIs (sexually transmitted infections), should only be used as a last measure and should not replace your regular form of contraception.
There are currently two forms of emergency contraception, these include:
There are currently two types of emergency contraceptive pills available - Levonelle (Plan B One Step) and ellaOne. These pills work effectively to prevent pregnancy when used correctly after intercourse. These pills are considered to have a higher hormone dosage compared to regular hormonal contraceptive pills and are said to help prevent a fertilised egg from reaching the uterus successfully although no one knows exactly how the morning-after pills work.
Levonelle contains the synthetic progestogen - levonorgestrel that works on the delaying or prevention of ovulation. This emergency contraceptive requires use within 72 hours to be fully effective. Although it may still be effective if taken after this time, the success rate will be considerably less and it is not advised to be used more than 72 hours after the sexual mishap.
ellaOne is a newer type of morning after pill containing ulipristal acetate. This active ingredient limits the progesterone hormone in the body, thereby delaying or preventing ovulation. Unlike Levonelle, this emergency contraception method is much stronger and works effectively for up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex. It is recommended that you a barrier contraceptive method is used for at least 7-10 days after using ellaOne as it may prevent hormonal contraceptive working properly during that period, for this reason also it should not be used more than once in a menstrual cycle.
It is difficult to accurately understand exactly how effective the emergency contraceptive pills would be, as there is no way of knowing for sure how many women would have gotten pregnant if it hadn't been taken and vice versa. A clinical trial carried out by the WHO (World Health Organisation) indicated that levonorgestrel (active ingredient in Levonelle Plan B) helped to prevent:
It is best to use either 'morning-after pill' as soon as possible after unprotected sex. The sooner it is used, the higher its chance of preventing pregnancy. Having unprotected sex again after taking the emergency pill may affect its effectiveness also.
It is unlikely that you will fall pregnant after using either emergency contraception as long as it has been used properly. If you are still unsure though, then it is advised that you take a pregnancy test to make sure. Especially if:
If you have your next period has normal then you will know that the emergency contraception has worked. If your period is more than 7 days late and is particularly heavy or light then you should also see your doctor to rule out pregnancy. This is necessary as it is not suitable for you to use hormonal contraceptives if you are already pregnant.
You need to continue taking your regular form of contraception even after using emergency contraception. It is only safe to take one emergency contraceptive pill during each menstrual cycle. If you choose to have unprotected sex during this cycle, you cannot take another emergency contraceptive pill which is why it is strongly recommended that after you use the morning-after pill you continue to use a barrier contraceptive, such as a condom until your next menstrual cycle.
It is normal for women that have just used the morning-after pill (emergency contraceptive pill) to feel like vomiting or sick. Other side effects may also occur largely due to the high hormone dosage contained in the emergency contraceptives. These side effects include:
The IUD (intrauterine device) can sometimes cause pelvic inflammation or infection, which may harm the uterus, but the chance of this is quite rare. Similar to the emergency contraceptive pills, it may cause heavy stomach cramps and bleeding.
Both emergency pills are suitable for women over 18 years and can be bought here online safely. Some women usually ask for the morning-after pill as a standby precaution in case an accident does occur. However, for those where unprotected intercourse has already taken place and there is worry of possible pregnancy, these women can apply directly to their local GUM clinic or request an emergency Levonelle Plan B pill or ellaOne pill here.