How much do you know about emergency contraception? You've probably heard it referred to as the 'morning after' pill, but in fact this commonly-used term is inaccurate, as you don't actually only have one day in which to take action. There are a lot of myths out there about emergency contraception, which is actually a lot more accessible than many people assume. We're here to bust some contraception myths and replace them with facts.
Emergency contraceptives have to be taken the morning after – FALSE
In fact, how late you can take emergency contraceptives depends on the option you choose. Of the two medications approved by British health authorities for prescription, one can be taken for up to three days after unprotected sex and the other can be taken up to five days after – although they tend to be more effective the sooner you take them. There isn't any prescription medication that absolutely must be taken within one day of unprotected sex.
The emergency contraceptive pill can only be taken three times over a woman's lifetime – FALSE
This is a common myth that simply has no truth in it. The emergency contraceptive pill is not recommended for frequent use as it can lose its effectiveness, but it doesn't pose any threat to your health if you use it more than three times in you lifetime. So don't be afraid of returning to the doctor or pharmacy if you have been prescribed the treatment before, there really is no risk.
Emergency contraception is the same as abortion – FALSE
Emergency contraception prevents a pregnancy from ever occurring, it does not cause for a pregnancy to be terminated. That's exactly the reason that it has to be taken soon after unprotected sex – it's because that way it can work to stop the egg from being fertilised.
Anyone can get emergency contraceptives – FALSE
This one is false insomuch as, while most women are able to use emergency contraceptives, there are some exceptions. Women who have certain conditions may not be able to use emergency contraceptives, and doctors may also refuse prescription in instances where unprotected sex has taken place outside of the range of the medication's effectiveness. Additionally, to purchase prescription emergency contraceptives you do need to personally visit or contact a doctor or pharmacist. But generally speaking, if you are female and able to communicate with a doctor or pharmacist then you will be able to get contraception when you need it.
You need a prescription for emergency contraception – FALSE
Your GP can provide you with a free of charge prescription, but there are other options for acquiring emergency contraception. You can also obtain some types of morning after pill online, or from a sexual health clinic or pharmacist, in which case there will be a charge. The doctor or pharmacist will make sure you are suitable to take this contraceptive, and advise you on how to take it.