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.

All kinds of Emergency Contraception should be used as soon as possible after unprotected sexual activity

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.

    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).

    They all have different time frames of use, but all need to be accessed as soon as possible after unprotected sexual activity.

    Why would I use Emergency Contraception?

    You could use Emergency Contraception if there was a risk of unwanted pregnancy.

    This could include:

    • unprotected intercourse
    • unprotected male/female exchange of genital fluids
    • sexual assault
    • contraceptive failure (e.g. the condom breaks or you are on the Pill and have missed two or more consecutive hormonal pills)

    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 effective is Emergency Contraception?

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

    The most commonly used Emergency Contraception Pill, 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, UPA-ECP, is more effective than LNG-ECP and can be taken up to 120 hours after unprotected sex, however it is more expensive.

    The copper IUD is the most effective form of Emergency Contraception. It is more than 99% effective if used within 5 days of unprotected sexual intercourse.

    However copper IUD insertion requires at least two visits to a specially-trained health practitioner which can be difficult to organise within the time frame and may be more expensive than using the Emergency Contraception Pill.

    Once inserted, a copper IUD provides very reliable ongoing contraception.

    Contact a Family Planning Tasmania Clinic or see your doctor for more information.

    How does Emergency Contraception work?

    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 it does not cause harm to the developing embryo or foetus. The Emergency Contraception Pill does not cause an abortion.

    The copper IUD works by affecting sperm movement, preventing fertilisation of the egg, and may also prevent implantation of a fertilised egg.

    What could stop Emergency Contraception from working properly?

    The Emergency Contraception Pill should be taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex, Emergency Contraception may not work if you miss the time frame.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

     

    How can I access Emergency Contraception?

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

    You do not need a script for the Emergency Contraception Pill.

    Some pharmacists may not supply the LNG-ECP if you had unprotected sex over 72 hours ago as this is against the recommendations in the product information.

    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.

    Contact a Family Planning Tasmania Clinic if you think that you want a copper IUD.

    How much does Emergency Contraception cost?

    Prices vary for Emergency Contraception.

    The cost depends on the type of Emergency Contraception Pill and where you get it but is likely to be between $20.00 and $45.00.

    UPA-ECP may be more effective but is also more expensive.

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

    How do I take Emergency Contraception?

    Take the tablet as soon as possible. If vomiting occurs less than 2 hours after taking LNG-EC, or less than 3 hours after taking 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.

    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, the  Emergency Contraception Pill will not affect a pregnancy or harm a developing foetus if you decide to continue with the pregnancy.

    When will I have my next period after taking Emergency Contraception?

    For most people their period will come at the expected time, however some people’s periods may be slightly earlier or later.

    Do I need a pregnancy test after taking Emergency Contraception?

    If your period is more than a week late, light, or unusual in any way, you should have a pregnancy test.

    If you have any pregnancy symptoms e.g. breast tenderness, nausea, urinary frequency you should also do a pregnancy test.

    If you have any other concerns or would like to discuss ongoing contraception you should see your doctor or contact a Family Planning Tasmania Clinic for advice.

    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.

    Can I use Emergency Contraception after I’ve had a baby?

    Emergency Contraceptive Pills are safe to take at any stage after having a baby.

    However if you use the UPA-ECP you will need to express and discard your breast milk for 7 days.

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

    Is Emergency Contraception safe to take when breast feeding?

    It’s safe to use the LNG-ECP when you are breastfeeding. It will not decrease your milk supply.

    If you use the UPA-ECP you will need to express and discard your breast milk for 7 days.

    It’s safe to have a Copper IUD when breastfeeding.

    Can I use Emergency Contraception more than once?

    You can take the Emergency Contraception Pills more than once per menstrual cycle.

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

    If you need to use the Emergency Contraception Pill more than once per cycle you should use the same type of Emergency Contraception Pill taken in the current cycle, as switching between LNG-ECP and UPA-ECP in the same cycle can reduce the effectiveness of both. Emergency Contraception Pills do not provide any ongoing contraception after it is taken.

    Once inserted, a copper IUD provides very reliable ongoing contraception.

    Does Emergency Contraception protect against Sexually Transmitted Infections?

    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.

     

    Does Emergency Contraception affect my normal contraception?

    Emergency Contraception Pills do not provide ongoing contraception.

    Taking the Emergency Contraception Pills will not protect you from getting pregnant after you’ve taken the medication.

    You could get pregnant if you have unprotected sex again.

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

    Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) such as the Implanon or IUDs are the most effective method at preventing unwanted pregnancy.

    You can contact a Family Planning Tasmania Clinic or your doctor to discuss your options.

    What if I have missed the time frame to take Emergency Contraception?

    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.

    Where to get more information, support or advice.

    Family Planning Tasmania has clinics in Glenorchy, Launceston, and Burnie.

    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