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 and must be taken within 72 hours of intercourse, as a matter of urgency.  There are two types. Levonelle can be taken up to 72 hours after sex, but EllaOne can still 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 is stocked in most pharmacies at around £25, but EllaOne is a prescription only pill, so you will need to contact your nearest GP or Health Centre or low cost tablets can be purchased 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 family planning clinic if you are worried about any of these.

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