The reality is that accidents happen. If you have unprotected sex, forget to take birth control pills or a condom breaks during sex, emergency contraception is available to you through Marie Stopes South Africa to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. This type of emergency contraception is known as the morning-after pill. Learn more about the availability of the morning-after pill in South Africa.
What is the morning-after pill?
The morning-after pill is a form of emergency contraception that prevents pregnancy after unprotected sex. It’s safe and effective, but it shouldn’t be the go-to method of contraception
Vital aspects that you need to know
The morning-after pill needs to be taken within 72 hours after sex.
It’s important to understand that the morning-after pill is not the abortion pill. It simply prevents pregnancy from occurring; the abortion pill terminates the pregnancy. We offer a safe abortion service if this is an avenue you’d like to pursue.
How the morning-after pill works
The morning-after pill contains Levonorgestrel (a hormonal medication) which prevents an egg being released during a menstrual cycle. It also changes the lining of the uterus stopping attachment of a fertilised egg.
Is emergency contraception safe?
According to Dr. James Trussell, a faculty associate at Princeton University and researcher in the area of reproductive health, ‘These are extraordinarily safe drugs. […] the benefits of being able to prevent pregnancy after sex outweigh any possible risks of taking the pills.’
Are there any side effects?
The morning-after pill may cause the following symptoms:
- Breast tenderness, dizziness or headaches
- Nausea or vomiting. Please note that if you vomit within two hours of taking the pill, it won’t be effective, and you’ll need to take another one
- Changes in your period. It may be earlier or later, or heavier or lighter than usual
How often can I use emergency contraception?
Emergency contraception is safe to use; however, it’s essential to remember that it does not protect against HIV/AIDS and STIs and it is not as effective as regular contraception. Frequent use may also cause your periods to become irregular and erratic.
How Marie Stopes South Africa can help you
Marie Stopes is the global leader in women’s sexual and reproductive health. Our clinics offer a Woman’s Wellness service which includes HIV/STI screenings. If you need emergency contraception, please book an appointment and one of our highly-trained nurses will explain everything to you in confidential consultation.
We operate 17 centres across 7 provinces and are a Section 21 non-profit organisation recognised for the quality of our clinical services and our non-judgmental, client-friendly approach. The fees we charge for our services are cross-subsidised across our network, meaning centres are able to offer prices that best suit the communities they serve.