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Whilst the best advice to stop unplanned pregnancy is to use a reliable contraception such as the pill or a condom, there will inevitably be some occasions where contraception fails and the risk of becoming pregnant is very high – In these cases, woman can take an emergency contraceptive pill, also known as the ‘morning after pill‘.
The emergency contraceptive pill, or ECP, is commonly referred to as the ‘morning after pill’, since it can be taken after unprotected sex has occurred to stop pregnancy. The tablet is usually offered in one single dose that should ideally be taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex.
To understand how the morning after pill works, it is important to understand the basics of conception and pregnancy. Every month, the female body repeats a menstrual cycle, which takes 28 days to complete. As part of this process, an egg is released from one of the two ovaries. The egg begins to travel down the fallopian tube towards the womb and, if sperm manages to reach the egg, it can become fertilised. If this happens, it will attempt to bed itself into the womb lining to begin its 9-month growth process.
This process is controlled by two hormones in the female body, called oestrogen and progesterone. Most forms of the emergency contraceptive pill contain a synthetic version of progesterone. As a result of the increased progesterone level in the body, ovulation does not occur and the cervical mucus thickens, making it harder for sperm to reach the womb. Together, these factors greatly reduce the likelihood that a woman will become pregnant.
Since the morning after pill works in a very similar way to standard 21 or 28-day contraceptive pills, it is easy to assume that taking an ECP regularly is a suitable form of contraception. This is not the case.
First, the dosage of synthetic progesterone in most emergency contraceptive pills is very high and doctors do not recommend that this treatment is used more than once in any one menstrual cycle. Secondly, whilst the emergency contraceptive pill is a reliable way to stop unplanned pregnancy, studies have shown that it is not as effective as other contraceptive medicines.
As ever, the best way to stop unplanned pregnancy is to use a contraceptive pill or barrier contraception, to avoid unprotected sex altogether.
An emergency contraceptive pill is conveniently taken in a single dose, as soon as possible after unprotected sex has occurred. The sooner you take the emergency contraceptive pill, the more effective it will be.
It is estimated that in the first 24 hours after sex the ECP has a 95% success rate, although this drops to 85% on the second day and just 58% on the third. Since the effectiveness of the morning after pill drops so rapidly, some women prefer to order the tablet in advance of sexual activity, as a ‘backup’ in case their standard contraception fails.
Prescription2Home offers a safe and reliable service, run by UK registered doctors and pharmacists, to provide consultations that may lead to a private prescription for Emergency Contraception.
At Prescription2Home you can take an online consultation that, if approved by our doctors, will lead to a private prescription. Our doctors will review your consultation responses to ensure that your chosen treatment is right, and safe, for you. On approval, we send the approved prescription electronically to our partner Pharmacy for dispensing and fulfilment. Prescriptions sent electronically to the Pharmacy before 3.30pm on working days can be despatched direct to your home for next day delivery.
You may review information on Levonelle by clicking on the treatment images on this page. If you require any advice or clarification from our doctors, please leave your questions here, and one of our doctors will respond shortly.
When you have considered the full range of treatment options and think you know which treatment is right for you, please select one of the treatments from this page and progress to the online consultation.
A form of oral contraceptive for emergency use, Levonelle is the most commonly prescribed morning after pill on the market and is an effective way to prevent conception for up to three days after unprotected sex. By using Levonelle as soon as possible, women can greatly decrease the likelihood that they will become pregnant.