Emergency contraception myths

Below are a list of commonly held beliefs about emergency contraception. Click on the belief to see if is true or false.

  • Oral emergency contraception can only be used if you have a ‘contraceptive accident’ e.g. torn condom
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    FALSE Answer

    Emergency contraception is for women who want to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex . Unprotected sex can be through an accident, or not using any contraception at all. This is not uncommon. Many women (about 30%) had unprotected sex at least once over the last year.

  • Oral emergency contraception is a ‘hormonal bomb’ that will ruin my cycles
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    FALSE Answer

    The hormones contained in oral emergency contraception can alter the build-up and shedding of the lining of the womb, but only for the cycle in which you take them. This means after taking the emergency contraceptive pill,  your next period might be on time, or earlier, or later than normal. After this your cycle normally returns to its regular pattern.

  • The morning after pill will make me sick
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    FALSE Answer

    Current emergency contraception is well tolerated, however like all medicines ellaOne® can cause side effects, although not everyone gets them.

    If you are sick (vomit) within 3 hours of taking an ellaOne® tablet, go back to a pharmacist and get another ellaOne® tablet to take.

  • Oral emergency contraception is a sort of mini abortion
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    FALSE Answer

    Emergency contraception pills works by delaying or inhibiting egg release This means that the sperm that is waiting in the fallopian tube will no longer be capable of making you pregnant. This all happens before pregnancy can begin, which is 6-12 days after unprotected sex. If you are already pregnant emergency contraception will not interrupt your pregnancy.

  • Oral emergency contraception will have a negative effect on my fertility
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    FALSE Answer

    Emergency contraception has no effect on future fertility. If you want to have sex after using emergency contraception, use a barrier method of contraception until your next period. This is because your fertility can come back very quickly.

  • I can use oral emergency contraception as my regular contraception
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    FALSE Answer

    Emergency contraception is not regular contraception.  After unprotected sex it is wise to use emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy, but it should be viewed as a “back-up” option. Like all contraception, emergency contraception is not 100% effective (you may have already just ovulated when you took the emergency contraceptive pill).