Emergency contraception or the 'morning-after pills' is a birth-control method for prevention of pregnancy after unprotected sex or when there is potential contraceptive failure such as burst condom or forgetting contraceptive pills. There are two common types of medication in this category, one is Levenogestrel (such as Postinor-2 & Escapelle), the other is Ulipristal (such as Ella). Postinor-2 or Escapelle should be taken within 72 hours (3 days) and Ella should be taken within 120 hours (5 days) from the episode of unprotected sex. The sooner you take it, the more effective it is.
Emergency contraception acts by stopping ovulation or fertilisation of an egg, or by preventing a fertilised egg from implanting in the uterus. Emergency contraception is not a substitute for other more reliable contraceptive methods. Emergency contraception has a success rate of about 90% to prevent pregnancy if taken as soon as possible.
The most common side effects of emergency contraception include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and headache. Rare side effects include fatigue, breast tenderness and menstrual bleeding disturbance. If you vomit within 2 hours of taking this pill, the pill might not be present in your body anymore. In this case, you will need to take another pill immediately. To avoid nausea and vomiting, you may take the pill after food.
Menstrual disturbances may occur after taking emergency contraception. The next menstrual period will come earlier than expected or it may be up to a week late. On most occasions, it comes within a few days of the expected date. If the periods are delayed by more than seven days or are lighter than usual, a pregnancy test will be carried out.
You are also recommended to consider STD screening especially if it is unprotected high risk sexual encounter. Emergency contraception will not offer protection against pregnancy for the remainder of the menstrual cycle. It is advisable to consider other reliable and more regular contraceptive methods.
If you have any questions regarding emergency contraception, talk to our doctor for more information