EmergencyContraception

 

Emergency Contraception (commonly referred to as the Morning After Pill) is used to reduce the risk of pregnancy after unprotected sexual activity (any sexual activity where an exchange of male/female fluids have been exchanged).

Emergency Contraception is commonly called the ‘Morning After Pill’ however there are several types of Emergency Contraception available and they all have different time lines for ideal use.

Emergency Contraception should be used as soon as possible after unprotected sexual activity and emergency contraceptive pills are most effective if  taken in the first 24 hours after unprotected sex.

Emergency Contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or blood-borne viruses (BBVs). Practice safer sex by using condoms to reduce the risk of STIs and BBVs.

FAQs

    What is Emergency Contraception?

    Emergency contraception (EC) is used to reduce the risk of pregnancy after unprotected sexual activity.

    There are 3 kinds of emergency contraception available in Australia; two are pills and one is a Copper Intrauterine Device (IUD)

    1. Levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pill.
      You can get this from a pharmacy without a prescription. Brand names vary. A common one is “Postinor”
    2. Ulipristal acetate emergency contraceptive pill.
      You can get this from a pharmacy without a prescription. Brand name – EllaOne.
    3. A copper intrauterine device (IUD) – inserted within 5 days of unprotected sex by a trained doctor or nurse

    Why would I use Emergency Contraception?

    Emergency contraception may be needed where there is a risk of an unintended pregnancy occurring. This may be due to:

    • Contraception not being used i.e. unprotected sexual intercourse
    • Unprotected exchange of male/female genital fluids
    • Contraception may have failed (missed pill, condom broke or came off)
    • Unreliable method i.e. withdrawal method
    • Sexual Assault

    If you are not sure whether you are at risk of pregnancy phone Family Planning Tasmania Clinic or talk to your local pharmacist, doctor or women’s health nurse.

    How does Emergency Contraception work?

    Emergency Contraceptive Pill
    Both types of Emergency Contraception Pill work mainly by stopping or delaying the release of an egg by the ovary (ovulation).

    The Emergency Contraception Pill is sometimes called the morning-after pill, but this is incorrect. Although it’s more effective the sooner it’s taken, it can be taken up to three to five days after unprotected sex.

    Emergency Contraception Pills do not prevent implantation of a fertilised egg.

    If the Emergency Contraception Pill is accidentally taken during pregnancy, there is no evidence that it is harmful to the developing embryo or foetus. The Emergency Contraception Pill does not cause an abortion.

    The Copper intra uterine device (IUD)
    The Copper IUD works by affecting the way the sperm moves and survives in the uterus (womb). It prevents fertilisation of the egg, and may also prevent implantation of a fertilised egg.

    How well does Emergency Contraception work?

    The Emergency Contraception Pills should be taken as soon as possible and are most effective if taken within 24 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse.

    The most commonly used Emergency Contraception Pill is the Levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pill (LNG –ECP). It has many brand names with the most common being “Prostinor”

    LNG-ECP, is estimated to prevent approximately 85% of pregnancies if taken within 3 days of unprotected sex, but still offers some effectiveness up to 96 hours if there is no alternative Emergency Contraception available.

    The newer Emergency Contraception Pill, Ulipristal acetate emergency contraceptive pill. (UPA-ECP), is more effective than LNG-ECP and can be taken up to 120 hours after unprotected sex. This is commonly known as EllaOne and is more expensive.

    The Copper Intra uterine device (IUD) is the most effective form of Emergency Contraception. It is more than 99% effective if used within 5 days of unprotected sexual intercourse.

    Copper IUD insertion requires at least two visits to a specially-trained health practitioner and appointments can be difficult to organise within the 5-day time frame. Once inserted, a copper IUD provides very reliable ongoing contraception.

    For more information, click here

    .

    Are there any side effects from using Emergency Contraception?

    The Emergency Contraception Pill can occasionally cause nausea, breast pain, headaches and spot bleeding.

    Side effects usually stop within two days.

    If you are worried about any side effects, see a doctor.

    If the Emergency Contraception fails and you do fall pregnant, there is no evidence that it is harmful to the developing embryo or foetus (baby).

    Can anyone use Emergency Contraception?

    Almost anyone can take one of the Emergency Contraception Pills but it is important for the pharmacist or doctor to know if you have any allergies, serious medical conditions, or are taking any other medication.

    Most women are suitable for Copper IUDs but it is important for the doctor to know your health history as part of your IUD assessment.

    What do I need to do to get Emergency Contraception?

    The Emergency Contraception Pill is available over the counter at pharmacies. You can also get it at many public hospital emergency departments and at Family Planning Tasmania.

    You do not need a prescription for the Emergency Contraception Pill but your doctor can give you a script to take to the pharmacy.

    Prices vary for Emergency Contraception. It is cheaper if you have a Medicare card and or a Concession card and the price does depend on which type you get and where you get it from.

    It usually costs between $20.00 and $45.00 for people who do not have a concession card.

    Some pharmacists may not supply the Levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pill (LNG –ECP) if you had unprotected sex over 72 hours ago as this is against the recommendations in the product information. Remember it works best taken within the first 24 hours after unprotected sexual intercourse.

    If you are under 16 years old, the pharmacist may ask you some questions to make sure you understand the effects of taking the Emergency Contraception Pill.

    Copper IUDs cost approximately $100.00 and there may be additional costs associated with getting the IUD fitted

    Contact a Family Planning Tasmania Clinic if you think that you want a copper IUD or click her for more information.

    How do I take Emergency Contraception?

    Take the tablet as soon as possible. If vomiting occurs less than 2 hours after taking Levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pill (LNG –ECP), or less than 3 hours after taking Ulipristal acetate emergency contraceptive pill. (UPA-ECP), another dose should be taken.

    Some medications, including prescribed medications and non-prescribed medications, can reduce the effectiveness of the Emergency Contraception Pill, be sure to discuss any medications you are taking with the pharmacist or doctor.

    What could stop Emergency Contraception from working properly?

    The Emergency Contraception Pill should be taken as soon as possible and are most effective if taken within 24 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse.

    They can be effective up to 3-5 days depending on which one you have and may not
    work if you miss this time frame. If you have missed the time frame for Emergency Contraception and are concerned that you may be pregnant, do a pregnancy test if you do not get your period at the expected time.

    Pregnancy tests can be purchased from supermarkets and pharmacies or testing can be done at any health service.

    Emergency Contraception may also not be the right choice if you:

    • Are taking certain types of medication, including other contraceptives (check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist)
    • Are taking Levonorgestrel emergency contraceptive pill and are overweight (you may need to double dose)
    • Are taking Ulipristal acetate emergency contraceptive pill and are breastfeeding

    What else do I need to know?

    Emergency Contraception Pills do not provide ongoing contraception after their taken.

    If you have further unprotected sex you should take the Emergency Contraception Pill (ECP) again as the previous dose is not effective.

    Some contraceptive pills can affect Emergency Contraception, please contact a Family Planning Tasmania nurse or ask your pharmacist.

    After taking Emergency contraceptive pills (ECP) your period may be slightly earlier or later.

    You should take a pregnancy test if your period is more than a week late, light, or unusual in any way or if you are displaying any pregnancy symptoms e.g. breast tenderness, nausea, urinary frequency.

    If you use the Ulipristal acetate emergency contraceptive pill while breast feeding you will need to express and discard your breast milk for 7 days.

    You can take the Emergency Contraception Pills (ECP) more than once per menstrual cycle. It is important to use the same type as switching during a cycle can reduce the effectiveness of the ECP.

    Once inserted, a Copper IUD provides very reliable ongoing contraception. 99.5% effectiveness

    A Copper IUD is safe to insert for most women from 6 weeks after giving birth.

    Emergency Contraception does not protect you from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) or Blood Borne Viruses (BBVs). Using condoms reduces the risk of STIs and BBVs

    Where to get more information, support or advice.

    Family Planning Tasmania has clinics in Glenorchy, Launceston, and Burnie.
    Click here to contact a clinic near you

    Any of our Doctors or Nurses can assist you with information or support about Emergency Contraception, or you can talk to you regular GP.

    MakeanAppointment
    Glenorchy
    9am-5pm Mon-Fri6273 9117
    Launceston
    9am-5pm Mon-Fri6343 4566
    Burnie
    9am-5pm Mon, Wed, Thurs6431 7692