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Emergency Contraception Options

Emergency contraception is an option that is used for preventing unwanted pregnancies after the conventional method of contraception fails to work or if you had unprotected sex. There are two methods of emergency contraception: the copper intrauterine device or IUD or the emergency contraceptive pill that is also known as the morning after pill.  These pills contain progestin and oestrogen. Both these pills are effective in preventing pregnancy if they are used immediately after having unprotected sex. IUD is known to be almost 99 percent effective whereas the pills are known to have almost as good results. *

Types of Contraceptive Pills

The NHS information page gives details about the two types of emergency pills used for contraception viz. Levonelle and ellaOne. Levonelle is the more popular of the two and should be taken up to three days (72 hours) after you had unprotected sex. It is available free if you have an NHS prescription. In addition, if you do not have a prescription you can buy it from your local pharmacy but you will have to prove that you are above 16 years of age. ellaOne is the latest type of contraceptive pill that can be taken up to five days (120 hrs) after you had unprotected sex. It can only be bought on prescription. Every woman, including breastfeeding women who otherwise are advised against using hormonal contraception such as contraceptive patch or combined pill, can use these emergency contraceptive pills. Although effective, doctors warn against its regular use. *

Using Copper Intrauterine Device to Stop Unwanted Pregnancy

IUD is a small copper and plastic device that is fitted inside the womb by a nurse or a doctor within five days from having unprotected sex or until five days after the release of egg or ovulation. This method stops the sperm from accessing the egg and initiating the process of fertilization. This process also stops fertilized egg implantation inside the lining of the womb (endometrium). It is considered the most effective emergency contraceptive methods and is known to stop 99 percent pregnancies. The Family Planning Association advises use of this method, if women do not want to get pregnant and it is perfectly safe. Clearly it is not going to be convenient for everyone, which is why a pill version is available*

Other Types of Emergency Contraception Methods      

In most of the European countries, Plan B One-Step is available to both men and women without age restrictions. Hopefully, one pill generics are expected to come on the shelf soon and will be available only for consumers who are 17 or more. However, girls below 16 will need a prescription to buy these pills.  Two-pill generics or Levonorgestrel tablets can also be bought without prescription if you are more than 17 years of age. If you are aged 18 or over then there is the option of getting an online prescription in the UK. There are a number of online healthcare providers and we recommend that you visit This website can provide further information and an online consultation that may result in a prescription if the doctor deems one to be appropriate. This website is regulated by the Care Quality Commission and has good online reviews.*

Read the Instructions Carefully

Each brand requires you to follow a different dosage format. For example, you should take both the Levonorgestrel dosages at the same time. In the case of Plan B One-Step, you should take only one pill at a time.  Similarly, the dosage for Next Choice One Dose, My Way and other pills are different and are mentioned on the packaging. Many information sources are conflicting and can confuse you while making the right choice. It is important that the patient information resource should be of high level. Hence, it is advisable that you take the pills on prescription, as your caregiver will have a better idea of what will be more effective and appropriate for you.*

Get the Right Information

A study reveals that the morning after contraceptive pill may not work for obese women. Although, this is not the case with all obese women and further scientific work is required, there is a chance that the emergency pills will not prove to be effective for obese women. Such women should hence also keep the other option of IUD open. So as to protect yourself from unwanted pregnancy, women should be very careful when they have sex. They should always take their birth control pills regularly. They should get all the information regarding pregnancy, protection and take proper measures so that they do not have to opt for emergency contraceptives - this should be a last resort. *

The emergency pills have shown no serious side effects to date, even when used for long durations. However, it is advisable that you should not make a habit of using emergency contraceptive measures on a regular basis.  Since many of the generic medicines are available without prescription, there are chances that they can be overused or misused by younger generation. Hence, it is important that a check is kept on their distribution and it should be only be made available to girls below 16 years on prescription.*




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