The morning after pill & IUD: Emergency contraception
Emergency contraception can be used to help prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex – whether you have not used any contraception or whether your usual method of contraception has failed (split condom, missed pill). Remember with emergency contraception, timing is everything.
It should not be seen as a regular method of contraception . It is much better to use a reliable method every time you have sex and to be aware that unprotected sex carries other risks: sexually transmitted infections and HIV.
If you have had unprotected sex, contact us straight way on (01) 830 0630 . Don’t be embarrassed, we see many women for emergency contraception.
What are the options if I have unprotected sex?
There are two options available to women to help prevent unintended pregnancy if they have unprotected sex. These are the emergency contraceptive pill (also known, incorrectly, as "The Morning After Pill" ) and the emergency contraceptive coil or IUD.
The timeline below shows how long after sex you have to take each method.
Up to 3 days after sex: The "Morning After Pill"
Also known (incorrectly) as the ‘morning after pill’, it must be taken within 72 hours/three days after unprotected sex. Within the first 24 hours the emergency contraceptive pill is 95% effective but the longer you leave it the less effective it will be.
Women must take this pill as soon as possible after sex.
The pill works either by stopping an egg being released, stopping sperm reaching the egg, or preventing a fertilised egg from settling in your uterus or womb.
In case you get sick or feel unwell after having taken the pill, contact us or your GP immediately.
Some women also experience a change in their menstrual pattern, including some irregular bleeding or spotting.
Click for more information about the morning after pill
Up to 5 days: IUD (Coil)
If you have left it too late for the pill or this method is more suitable for you then you can still have an IUD or ‘coil’ fitted up to 5 days after unprotected sex, to prevent pregnancy occurring.
It works by stopping an egg from being fertilised or implanted in your uterus (womb) and can be left in as a form of regular contraception or removed after a normal period.
Click for more information on IUDs (Coils)
You should always go to your doctor or contact Marie Stopes Reproductive Choices if you need a check up after using emergency contraception. We can also provide advice on regular forms of contraception.
Call us on (01) 830 0630 if you would like to make an appointment.