Worried about falling pregnant after an unsafe sexual encounter?
Emergency contraception, or the “morning after pill”, can help you to prevent pregnancy. Visit the doctor as soon as possible!
What is emergency contraception?
The emergency contraceptive pill contains a particular hormonal medication. This is commonly known as the “morning after pill”. In Singapore, this medicine is sold under the name “Postinor-2” & Ella.
Ella is taken as a single tablet up to 5 days post exposure.
How does it work?
Postinor 2 is a series of 2 tablets. The first is taken as soon as possible (up to 72 hours) after the sexual encounter. The second tablet is taken 12 hours later.
Emergency contraception works by delaying ovulation.
How effective is it?
The earlier you take emergency contraception, the more effective it will be.
If taken within the first 24 hours, it is 95% effective in preventing pregnancy.
If taken at 25 – 48 hours, it prevents 85% of pregnancy. After 48 hours, it prevents 58% of pregnancies.
It is not suitable for use if your sexual encounter occurred more than 72 hours ago.
What are the side effects?
The most common side effects of emergency contraception are abdominal discomfort, bloating, nausea, and vomiting.
Some users also report other symptoms such as headache, giddiness diarrhoea, and breast tenderness.
Abnormal bleeding such as spotting between periods can occur, and your period might be early, delayed or abnormally heavy.
Are there alternatives?
Yes, an intrauterine device (IUD) is an alternative option for emergency contraception.
If inserted within 5-7 days of the sexual encounter, the copper IUD is >99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
An additional benefit is that it provides continued contraception for up to 5 years after insertion.
Another alternative for women who seek medical attention later than 72 hours, but within 5 days of sexual intercourse is a medication called Ella.
Ella contains a progesterone-like compound, ulipristal, and is more effective than Postinor in preventing pregnancy.
Emergency contraception is not 100% effective.
If your period is delayed by more than 3 weeks, visit the doctor to have a pregnancy test done.
And remember, emergency contraception is only useful in preventing pregnancy.
It is not effective in protecting against sexually transmitted infection/sexually transmitted disease (STIs/STDs).
Visit your doctor for full sexual health testing after an unsafe sexual encounter to ensure you are an infection -free.
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