Emergency contraception (EC) is a type of birth control that can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or after your regular form of contraception has failed. When taken early enough, it can be very effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies.
EC is designed for occasional use and isn’t meant to be a regular form of contraception. If you find that you are relying on EC frequently, speak to your GP or pharmacist about other types of birth control.
Emergency Contraception Types
The two main types of emergency contraception are the morning-after pill and the IUD (intrauterine device). Depending on the brand you use, the morning-after pill needs to be taken within 3-5 days after unprotected sex. The IUD can be fitted up to 5 days after unprotective sex.
Even if you have an IUD fitted as emergency contraception, it can be left in and used as a regular method of birth control. It’s also one of the most effective forms of birth control, with less than 1% of women who use an IUD falling pregnant.
Some women find that it’s easier and quicker to get the morning-after pill when they need EC right away. This is because the morning-after pill can be issued by a pharmacist and doesn’t need to be administered by a GP or nurse practitioner. The two brands of morning-after pill used in the UK are Levonelle and ellaOne.
Levonelle needs to be taken within 3 days of unprotected sex. It contains levonorgestrel, a synthetic form of the female sex hormone progesterone. By using this hormone, Levonelle stops/delays ovulation. If ovulation doesn’t occur, then your ovaries won’t release any eggs that can then be fertilized by sperm.
ellaOne can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex. It has ulipristal acetate which, like Levonelle, stops/delays ovulation.
Your Local Sexual Health Pharmacy in Northampton
West Chemist is a full-service pharmacy, offering a wide range of services including those related to sexual health in Northampton. In addition to being able to provide you with birth control and emergency contraception, we are also a private STD clinic in Northampton.