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What is emergency contraception?
Emergency oral contraception (EC) is a relatively safe and effective medication meant to prevent unintended pregnancy.
Who should take emergency contraception?
You may take emergency contraception in any of the following situations:
- Prevention of pregnancy following unprotected sexual intercourse
- In event of possible contraception failure or incorrect contraception use e.g.
- Condom breakage or slippage
- Missed doses of the birth control pill
- Concerns of failure or delayed doses of any other forms of contraception
Is Emergency Contraception Suitable for Me?
Delaying or Preventing Ovulation
Your doctor will speak to you to determine if oral emergency contraception is suitable for you and may ask you some questions to ensure you are currently not already pregnant. You should inform your doctor if you have other medical problems or are taking other long-term medications as some may potentially interact with or affect the efficacy of oral emergency contraception.
If you are a mother who is currently breastfeeding, you can still take oral emergency contraception, but you may have to discard your breast milk for up to a week after.
How Does Emergency Contraception Work?
Delaying or Preventing Ovulation
Emergency Contraception works by delaying or preventing ovulation i.e. release of an egg. If you are already pregnant it will have no effect on termination of your existing pregnancy.
What you need to know about Different Types of Contraception
What Types of Emergency Contraception are Available?
The most commonly offered forms of oral emergency contraception in Singapore include Postinor (levonorgestrel) and Ella (ulipristal acetate).
|Timing||Effective up to 72 hours from time of intercourse||Effective up to 5 days after the time of intercourse|
|Dosage||2 tablets taken 12 hours apart||1 tablet taken immediately|
What is the Success Rate of Emergency Contraception?
Success Rates of 95% and Beyond
The success rate of oral emergency contraception is influenced by how soon after intercourse it is taken, with success rates of 95% and beyond.
While oral emergency contraception has good success rates, it is not entirely foolproof and if your menstrual period is delayed, you should do a urine pregnancy test.
What are the Side Effects of Emergency Contraception?
The most common side effects of emergency contraception are nausea and vomiting. If vomiting occurs within 2-3 hours after taking the pill, a second dose of the pill may be required.
Other common side effects of oral emergency contraception include abdominal cramping, as well as changes in one’s menstrual bleeding patterns e.g. spotting. Your menses should still come within a week from the expected date. Exceptional delay of menses may be a sign of pregnancy and did a urine pregnancy test would be warranted.
How Often Can One Take Emergency Contraception?
Not More Than Once within a Menstrual Cycle or a Month
Emergency oral contraception should not be taken more than once within a menstrual cycle/a month.
It is not meant to be a long-term contraceptive method, nor does it protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
What are Alternatives to Emergency Contraception?
If you have had to take emergency oral contraception multiple times, you may wish to consider the alternative, regular forms of contraception. These may range from short-acting methods in the form of birth control pills and hormone patches, to longer-term reversible methods such as Implanon and intrauterine devices (IUD) like Mirena.
Aside from oral emergency contraception, other emergency contraceptive methods available include the copper-bearing intrauterine device (IUD), but this is currently not offered at our clinics.
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List of Women’s Health Services
- Emergency Contraception
- Intra Uterine Device (IUD)
- Vaginal Infection
- Vaginal Itch
- Abnormal Vaginal Discharge
- Vaginal Lumps and Bumps
- Bacterial Vaginosis
- Vaginal Odor
- Dyspareunia (Pain during Sex)
- Bleeding after sex
- Fertility Screening
- Prematerial Screening
- Preconception Screening
- Pap Smear
- Period & Menstrual issues
- Women's STD Screening