There is a lot of information out there about emergency contraception. But how do you know what to believe?

Emergency contraception is an effective method of ensuring that sexual intercourse doesn’t result in pregnancy, especially following unprotected sex. Even if other contraceptive methods are used, using the morning after pill can help provide extra protection for any margin of error.

However, many people get confused about the prospect of using emergency contraception, and there is a lot of misinformation fuelling the fire. When should you use it? What are your options? Is it safe? Let’s myth-bust some common misconceptions about emergency contraception.

“There is only one option when it comes emergency contraception”

Actually, there are several emergency contraception options out there which can help prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. There are two main forms of emergency contraception: the emergency IUD (otherwise known as the emergency coil) and the morning after pill. Whilst the morning after pill is the more commonly used of the two, it’s important to speak to a healthcare professional about which option is best for your specific circumstances.

There are also options within these options too. Both Levonelle and ellaOne are popular and effective emergency contraception tablets.

“Emergency contraception can terminate a pregnancy”

The morning after pill and the abortion pill are two completely different kinds of medication and should never be used interchangeably. If you are already confirmed to be pregnant, emergency contraception like the morning after pill will make no difference to the development of your pregnancy. It should only be used to prevent pregnancy.

“Emergency contraception affects your future fertility”

There is no evidence to suggest that even multiple uses of the morning after pill can affect your fertility in the long term. It will not reduce your future chances of falling pregnant. Even if you have unprotected sex again several days after taking the contraception there is no evidence that your chances of falling pregnant will be any lower.

“You will experience a lot of unpleasant side effects”

Like many medications, emergency contraception carries with it the risk of experiencing side effects. However, like many medications, most people will be able to use the treatment without experiencing any negative symptoms at all. If you do experience side effects, they will most likely be mild and temporary.

Possible side effects of the morning after pill include headaches, nausea, stomach pain and irregular menstrual flow.

“It only works if you take it straight after sexual intercourse”

Modern emergency contraceptive treatments like Levonelle and ellaOne have an extended period of effectiveness, meaning you can take them up to 3 to 5 days after unprotected sex and still reduce your chances of falling pregnant.

However, it is true that the sooner you take emergency contraception, the more effective it is. EllaOne has been shown to be around 98% effective if taken within twelve hours of sexual intercourse, but can be taken anytime up to 120 hours after unprotected sex.

Similarly, Levonelle is 95% effective if taken within 12 hours of unprotected sex, 85% if taken between 12 and 24 hours after sex, 75% effective if taken between 24 and 48 hours after sex and 58% effective if taken between 48 and 72 hours after sex.

“Emergency contraception is difficult to get”

Research suggests that only 7% of women are aware of just how simple it is to acquire emergency contraception. It can be obtained directly from your local pharmacy, from a sexual health clinic, your GP or a walk-in centre. You can even obtain it without leaving the house by ordering from trusted online pharmacies like Express Pharmacy.

For treatment and advice on emergency contraception and other healthcare queries, contact the team at Express Pharmacy today. Call 0208 123 07 03 or use our discreet online Live Chat service.