Emergency contraception is provided in two ways:
- using increased doses of certain oral contraceptive pills within 72 hours
- insertion of a copper intrauterine device (IUD) within five to seven days.
*This is not a form of contraception. For information on the common contraceptive pill click here.
The Morning After Pill can be taken:
- after unprotected intercourse
- if the usual method of contraception has failed
Treatment consists of four pills
- two taken immediately available
- two more taken twelve hours after the initial dosage containing a high dosage of the synthetic hormones estrogen and/or progestogen which stops an egg from being released and prevents implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus.
One of the newer Morning After Pill, Levonelle-2, contains only one hormone, a progestogen, and is said to be more effective and with less nausea, and side effects.
Treatment consists of two pills
- one taken immediately later by a second.
- One pill taken exactly 12 hours after the first pill
The Morning After Pill’s effectiveness is lessened by:
- certain medications (consult your doctor regarding which ones)
and and are less likely to work if:
- you take it over seventy-two hours after unprotected sex
- you have unprotected sex after taking them
- you forget to take the second set of pills
- you vomit within two hours of taking the tablets (extra pills, plus something to stop you vomiting may be given)
It prevents about:
- 95% of pregnancies developing if it is taken within 24 hours after unprotected sex
- 85% of pregnancies developing if taken within 24-48 hours after unprotected sex
- 5% of pregnancies developing if taken within 48-72 hours after unprotected sex
The Morning After Pill is designed solely for emergency use and is not a method of contraception.
|high effectiveness rate if used within the recommended time period||Side effects*|
|women who are advised against using birth control pills should not use the morning after pill|
|if pregnancy does occur the hormones may adversely affect the fetus|
*Side effects include:
- breast tenderness