Everything you need to know about Emergency Contraception

The panic that a mistake with contraception can make isn’t any fun. But if it does happen, emergency contraception (aka the morning after pill) can put your mind at ease, just as long as you follow these simple guidelines … and relax.

emergency contraception

When should I take it?

Emergency Contraception must only be used in an emergency, hence the name. It is not a general form of contraception and should never be used instead of your regular contraceptive method.

The morning after pill is designed to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, or if a method of contraception has failed. It must be taken as soon as possible after sex, as a matter of urgency.  There are two types. Levonelle can be taken up to 72 hours after sex, and EllaOne which can be taken up to 120 hours (5 days) after intercourse and is generally considered more effective.

How does it work?

The hormone contained in the pill can do a number of things to prevent the pregnancy. These include delaying ovulation, affecting the development of the uterine lining, and disrupting the actual fertilisation process.  This is why it is important that emergency contraception is taken as soon as possible in order to maximise effectiveness. Although, it is important to remember that it does not 100% ensure you will not fall pregnant.

Where can I get it?

Levonelle and EllaOne is stocked in most pharmacies at around £25 to £35, or they can be purchased in advance from our online pharmacy.

Side effects

Often the morning after pill will have some side effects such as stomach pains, headaches, irregular menstrual bleeding, nausea, or tiredness.  There are some less common side effects too, which include vomiting, dizziness, and breast tenderness, but consult your GP or sexual health clinic if you are worried about any of these.

Always remember to read the information leaflet carefully before taking any medication.