Maybe the condom broke or perhaps you just got caught up in the moment. Either way, it’s the morning after the night before, and you’ve realised you may be at risk of an unplanned pregnancy. You need an immediate, reliable solution.
Enter the emergency IUD.
You may know that the intrauterine device (IUD) is a form of long-term, reversible birth control, but it can also act as emergency contraception in place of the ‘morning after’ pill. And the bonus is that once it’s inserted, it can protect against unplanned pregnancy for up to 10 years (or until you remove it).
I’ve never heard of an IUD. What is it?
An IUD is a small T-shaped device that’s inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. Here’s everything you need to know about the IUD.
How does the emergency IUD work?
If inserted within five to seven days of unprotected sex, the copper IUD works extremely effectively as a form of emergency contraception (note that the Mirena IUD can’t be used in this way).
The device makes the uterus inhospitable to sperm, and it also stops the endometrium (lining of the uterus) from growing thick enough for a fertilised egg to implant in it.
Therefore, if you haven’t yet ovulated, the IUD will destroy the sperm that could fertilise the egg. And if you’ve already ovulated, the device will prevent the zygote (fertilised egg) from implanting in the uterus.
Why choose an emergency IUD over the ‘morning after’ pill?
The IUD is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, whereas oral emergency contraceptives are 90% effective. Plus, you’ll be able to keep it in and continue to avoid pregnancy until you’re ready to replace it or take it out.
How long does the IUD last?
The device lasts for between five and 10 years, depending on which type you get. If you’d like to have a baby before then, you can simply have the device removed, and your fertility will return immediately.
Where can I get an emergency IUD?
You can visit your clinic, gynaecologist, or any Marie Stopes centre in South Africa.
We offer a full range of sexual healthcare services in a caring and confidential environment, and we’ll be able to help you with long and short-acting birth control, as well as emergency contraceptives. And, should you need it, we also provide safe abortion care and counselling.
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