7 Things To Know Before Taking The Morning After Pill
You slipped up and now you need to take emergency contraception. Before you take that pill, it's important that you're fully informed.
1. It should be taken ASAP
When possible, you should take the morning after pill as soon as you can after unprotected sex. Although research has shown it can be effective up until 72 hours after the incident, it’s more likely to be effective the sooner it’s taken.
2. It should not be used as a form of regular contraception
The morning after pill should only be used as a last resort. Not only does it mess up your menstrual cycle but it can effect your hormones, which can make you seriously moody. Although the common myth that you can only take it three times isn’t true, the more you take it the less effective it becomes. According to Dublin Well Woman Centre “emergency contraception is a very safe form of medication, but it is not a substitute for being on a more long-term routine form of contraception, such as the oral contraceptive pill or mini-pill, patch, or injection.”
3. It can mess up your menstrual cycle big time
Usually after you take the morning after pill your period will be early or late, but don’t worry, this is totally normal. The morning after pill releases a dose of the hormone progesterone, which is likely to affect when your period arrives, depending on the time you take it during your cycle. However, if you’re three to four weeks late you should take a pregnancy test to be sure.
4. It does NOT protect against STIs
Just like the regular pill, the morning after pill does not prevent the transmission of STIs. If you have sex without a condom you run the risk of getting an STI, so to be on the safe side we recommend getting an STI check with your GP or head to HSE Sexual Health Services for more details.
5. You don’t need a prescription
If you’re running low on cash and are worried about forking out for the doctor, there’s no need. The morning after pill can be bought over the counter but you will need to have a quick sit down with the pharmacist to make sure it’s okay for you to take.
6. Emergency contraception doesn’t just come in pill form
If it’s been a few days since your slip up there’s an alternative plan B method; a copper IUD. This is a coil that is inserted into your vagina by a doctor and it can be effective up to five days after unprotected sex. Although it is slightly more costly and, er, painful it’s said to be one of the most effective forms of contraception.
7. It’s your choice
This is a decision you need to come to on your own and it’s important you know that. This is something that will effect your body so it’s totally your decision whether you want to take it or not. Whether it’s your boyfriend, best friend or sister telling you to take it, just do what feels right for you.
For more information on emergency contraception contact The Irish Family Planning Association on 1850 49 50 51.
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