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How late can you take emergency contraception?

Emergency contraception is a birth control measure which can be used after unprotected sex (or if your contraceptive method has failed) in order to prevent pregnancy. What is emergency contraception? The most common form of emergency contraception is the emergency contraception pill, often called the morning after pill, and can be taken up to 3-5 days after having unprotected sex depending on the type of pill. An IUD can also be fitted as a method of emergency contraception, which prevents pregnancy for 3 years.

How does emergency contraception work?

There are two types of emergency contraceptive pillLevonelle and EllaOne

Levonelle 1500 mcg and EllaOne 30mg are emergency hormonal contraceptives (EMC) that work by stopping or delaying ovulation and preventing the fertilisation of any egg that may have already been released. Levonelle must be taken within 72 hours (3 days) and EllaOne within 120 hours (5 days) of having unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. Emergency contraceptive effectiveness is greater the quicker the pill is taken. The sooner you take the tablet, the more effective it will be at preventing pregnancy. How does emergency contraception work? Levonelle and EllaOne contain levonorgestrel – a synthetic version of the natural hormone progesterone which is produced in the ovaries. Taking the emergency contraception after sex stops the release of an egg, preventing the sperm from fertilising any egg which may have been released. Levonelle is cheaper than EllaOne, which is the next most popular alternative.

Common side effects of taking the morning after pill include nausea, lower abdominal pain, headaches, tiredness and irregular bleeding until your next period. If you experience vomiting or diarrhoea, it’s important to get another pill as it may not have entered your system.

An IUD (intrauterine device) is a T-shaped copper and plastic device which is inserted into the uterus. It releases copper to stop eggs implanting in the womb or being fertilised. It can be used as a method of emergency contraception up to 5 days after having unprotected sex, or 5 days after the earliest day you could have ovulated. An IUD used emergency contraception effectiveness is 99%. If you’re not using a regular form of contraception, it might be a good idea to research your options in order to prevent pregnancy. Find out more about different female contraceptive methods here.

How long after can you take emergency contraception?

The longer you leave emergency contraception, the less likely it is to work. Emergency contraception effectiveness is greatest when taken as soon as possible. Depending on which emergency contraceptive pill you take effects how long after can you take emergency contraception, either 3 or 5 days after sex. An IUD can be fitted up to 5 days after sex. It’s not possible to take emergency contraception after 7 days, so it’s important to act quickly and quickly take emergency contraception after sex.

Where to get emergency contraception?

If you are wondering where to get emergency contraception, there are many different places.

You can order the emergency contraceptive pill online from My Pharmacy here.

You can also get the emergency contraceptive pill from your local pharmacy, sexual health clinic or NHS walk-in centres. The pill is sometimes available at A&E departments, but it’s best to call ahead to check beforehand. Local sexual health clinics can offer emergency contraception advice, so if you are unsure which option is best for you, get in touch with them. The NHS sexual health website also offers emergency contraception advice, allowing you to make an informed decision about your healthcare choices.

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