If you’ve had unprotected sex or think your contraception hasn't worked properly, you could be pregnant. At Marie Stopes we offer two types of emergency contraception: the 'morning after pill' and IUD.
If you've had unprotected sex in the last 5 days and don't want to be pregnant, you can use emergency contraception. If you've had unprotected sex more than 5 days ago, and you are late for your period, you will need to do a home pregnancy test.
Having unprotected sex puts you at risk of sexually transmitted infections (STI) and unplanned pregnancy. At Marie Stopes we can help you through this time, test you for STIs and organise emergency contraception for you.
You should consider using emergency contracpetion in these situations:
After unprotected sex
A split condom or a condom which has slipped off
Missing pills while taking
Being sick or having diarrhoea while on the pill
Being late for your repeat contraceptive injection
Forgetting to use a form of contraception
Not being able to feel your IUD threads
Taking medicines which reduce the effectiveness of hormonal contraception
Following sexual assault or rape
If you call our Meri Saathi Free Helpline on 16600119756 (ntc) or 9801119756 (ncell) and explain you need emergency contraception, they can refer you to Marie Stopes Centres nearby you.
Emergency contraceptive pill
The emergency contraceptive pill is also known as the 'morning after pill' which can be taken up to 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex.
How does the 'morning after pill' work?
It delays ovulation (release of an egg) and causes some changes to the womb lining, which reduces the chance of pregnancy. It's not the same as the abortion pill as it acts to prevent pregnancy, not terminate an existing pregnancy.
How effective is the 'morning after pill' at preventing pregnancy?
It prevents up to 85% of unwanted pregnancies and is more effective taken closer to the time of unprotected sex.
What are the side effects from taking the 'morning after pill'?
The most commonly reported side effects are minor abdominal pain and cramps, as well as some irregular vaginal bleeding. You may experience your period a little earlier or later than usual. If your period is late by more than a few days, you'll need to do a pregnancy test. The morning after pill is not recommended for use in pregnancy, but in the small number of women who become pregnant despite taking it, there is no evidence to date to say that it has damaged the pregnancy.
The intrauterine device (IUD)
An IUD is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that’s inserted into your womb (uterus) by a specially trained doctor or nurse. The IUD may be appropriate if it's less than 5 days since you had unprotected sex. It's the most reliable form of emergency contraception, and may be suitable if you're planning to use an IUD for future contraception.
How does an IUD work?
The IUD works by stopping the sperm and egg from surviving in the womb or fallopian tubes. It also prevents a fertilised egg from implanting in the womb. The IUD is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) method. This means that once it's in place you don't have to think about it each day or each time you have sex.
You can use an IUD whether or not you've had children.
How effective is an IUD as an emergency contraceptive?
An IUD is the most effective form of emergency contraceptive. If inserted within 5 days of unprotected sex, it can prevent up to 99.9% of unplanned pregnancy. It's also an effective long acting reversible contraceptive and can be left in for 12 years depending on which type is used.
Will it hurt to have an IUD put in?
An experienced sexual health doctor will fit your IUD if you choose to have it inserted at Marie Stopes for emergency contraception. A service provider will be available to answer any questions and discuss your procedure, the risks and benefits. After your discussion, you'll be asked to remove your lower garments and lie on a gynaecological bed. Sometimes we ask for you to put your legs in stirrups as this makes the procedure quicker and easier.
We'll examine you first to assess the size of your uterus and where your cervix is. We'll then place a speculum in the vagina so we can see your cervix. We'll place a local anaesthetic gel on your cervix and clean the area. We then grasp your cervix with a special instrument, measure the length of the uterus and put in the IUD.
During this part of the procedure, you may experience some discomfort, like a menstrual cramp. Most women tolerate the procedure well and have no issues. If at any stage you are uncomfortable, advise the doctor, so they can ensure you're managing. The procedure is simple and takes less than 10 minutes.
Are there risks to having an IUD inserted?
There is a small risk of infection, and if you have not had swabs done, we may give you antibiotics at the time of the procedure to minimise this. There is also a small risk of a perforation of the uterus and for this reason, we ask you to feel for the IUD strings to ensure the IUD is in place. There's a small increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy when an IUD is in placed.
Some women find they have some menstrual cramping and spotting after an IUD is inserted. This usually settles in 24-48 hours but if it persists you can contact our Meri Saathi Free Helpline on 16600119756 (ntc) or 9801119756 .
The IUD is the most effective non-hormonal contraceptive available. Some women say they have slightly heavier periods with a copper IUD in place. Most women find it an easy and reliable contraceptive and like the fact that it has no hormonal side effects. If you have not had a period within four weeks of having your IUD inserted for emergency contraception, you will need to do a pregnancy test. If you have any issues after your IUD is inserted please contact our Meri Saathi Free Helpline on 16600119756 (ntc) or 9801119756 .