If you’re absolutely convinced your family is ‘done’ there’s nothing worse than a few moments of passion leaving you freaking out that you could be pregnant.
Whether you get caught in the moment and lose your common sense, have taken your pill incorrectly or find yourself in the bathroom uncomfortably rummaging in your lady garden for a lost condom… it’s easily done.
However you got to this moment, you’re not feeling so crash hot now. The romance is over, the sheets are cold and the clammy sweat of an unwanted pregnancy is creeping over you. It’s time for emergency contraception.
The facts about emergency contraception
What is it? The progestogen-only method is the most commonly used method of emergency contraception in Australia. It involves taking a dose of emergency contraception pills containing progestogen, a synthetic version of the progesterone normally made by the ovaries. This is usually one full dose that is taken straight away.
How effective is? Emergency contraception is 85% effective at preventing an unwanted pregnancy.
How do I get it? A doctor can prescribe the morning after pill, but they can also be bought over the counter without a prescription at most pharmacies in Australia.
How quickly do I need to take it? If you’re serious about preventing an unwanted pregnancy run, don’t walk, to your doctor or chemist. It is best to take emergency contraception as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours of having sex. Emergency contraception still works well within 96 hours (four days). You can take it within the 96 to 120 hours (five days) bracket, but it will not be very effective. If you’re worried, don’t hesitate.
Our community’s experiences with the morning after pill… and what we have learned from them
If you want the morning after pill, demand it. This is your body.
I went to the pharmacist to get the morning after pill. It was an older man in his 60s. I explained I had missed my pill and would like it and he told me I didn’t need it. I left embarrassed and feeling worried. Stupidly I let him talk me out of it and later ended up having a termination. Sarah, 35 years old.
The symptoms you can experience from the morning after pill are very similar to that of pregnancy.
I took the morning after pill after a drunken night away with my partner. We definitely didn’t want any more children. In the days after taking the pill my boobs were sore, I felt nauseas, really emotional and very tired. I became completely paranoid that these were all symptoms of pregnancy. What I didn’t realise was that the symptoms are also the same of someone who’s just taken a mega dose of hormones. I wish the doctor had warned me of that. It would have saved me a lot of stress and Googling. Katherine, 39 years old.
Your period might be crazy for a while afterwards! (30% will have a later period and 15% will have an early period)
The morning after pill was the right decision for me. The only negative thing that I experienced was that afterwards my like-clock-work menstrual cycle was absolutely nuts. I had spotting, longer periods and irregular cycles for a few months afterwards. That said, it was much better than an unwanted pregnancy! Michelle, 33 years old.
There is a failure rate, this is not 100% guaranteed!
I took the morning after pill two days after having unprotected sex. I did end up falling pregnant despite the fact that I was within the time window where it is meant to be up to 85% successful. My obstetrician later told me it could also have been as I weighed over 75kg and there is a unconfirmed risk at this weight that the dosage can be too low. I still don’t know if this is actually true. It ended up okay for me and I am happy with our third surprise baby! There has to be the 15% I guess and I was it! Amanda, 31 years old.
The morning after pill is NOT the abortion pill.
(Emergency contraception delays ovulation and prevents a possible pregnancy; it does not end a pregnancy, which has already occurred.)
I was young and pretty naive when I had the morning after pill. At the time my older boyfriend got it for me and with little information I took it. I believed it was the abortion pill, which I have since learned to not be the case. They are totally different products and they do totally different things. Samantha 27 years old.
The morning after pill protects you when you choose it!
I had one of those horrifying moments where my husband’s penis pulled out – and there’s no condom to be seen. After the excruciating quest to relocate it, my next worry was a pregnancy. A quick trip to the pharmacy meant peace of mind and no potential further expansion of the crew! Renee, 37 years old.
For more information on emergency contraception you can speak to your pharmacist, see your doctor or visit the Family Planning NSW website.
Individuals concerned about any personal reproductive or sexual health issue are encouraged to seek advice and assistance from their health care provider.