Missing the Morning After Pill Deadline


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If you do miss the 72 hour window for taking the morning after pill, then try not to panic.  You may still be able to have a coil, (IUD), fitted for another two days.

Emergency IUD / The Coil

You can opt to have a coil inserted up to 5 days after unprotected sex in order to prevent an unwanted pregnancy, although alike to the morning after pill the sooner this is done the better.  This option is less readily used, being more invasive than simply taking a pill. 

Pros    

You continue to be protected when having sex, the coil being an effective form of contraception.

  • The coil can be inserted up to 5 days after the unprotected sex has taken place and may still prove effective
  • A coil is not known to react with any other medications so can be inserted depite any previous medical conditions or treatments

Cons

  • There aren’t as many doctors or other professionals trained to fit a coil, and so it might be hard to find someone at such short notice
  • You will have to go on a course of antibiotics in order to prevent any infection within the womb
  • It won’t prevent ectopic pregnancies from developing
  • You can’t have a coil fitted if you have a sexually transmitted disease, (STD) or have very heavy or unregular periods. 
  • If, despite having an IUD fitted, you do become pregnant the coil can affect the pregnancy and lead to a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. 

Abortion

If emergency contraception hasn’t worked and you do become pregnant than you may wish to consider having an abortion.  This is not an easy decision to make due to the moral problems associated with preventing life, but many women in this situation do decide that they cannot continue with the pregnancy. 

An abortion can be performed within the law up to 24 weeks into the pregnancy, although a lot of hospitals will not perform the abortion if you are beyond 18 or 20 weeks.  It is best to have an abortion as early into the pregnancy as possible, in order to avoid any complications that might arise.  You will have to discuss the abortion with your doctor, who will examine you and determine your suitability for having a termination.  Following this you will be referred to a hospital or a clinic where the abortion will take place.

Abortion by Pill

You can simply take two pills to terminate a pregnancy that is shorter than 9 weeks.  The drugs are called mifespristone and prostaglandin, they are taken around 2 days apart and basically alter the state of your womb lining causing the embryo to be lost as you shed the environment it was in.  Women who have this type of abortion are often in some pain and can be sick or have diarrhoea due to the medication.

Very advanced pregnancies can also be stopped using medication, although this technique tends to be avoided.  Two drugs are given again, but due to the late nature of the pregnancy you will abort through the vagina.

Abortion through surgery

If you are more advanced than 9 weeks into your pregnancy then you will have a surgical termination.  You will be given some anaesthetic and a tube will be inserted into the womb which then sucks out the embryo and ends the pregnancy.  For very advanced pregnancies sometimes forceps are used to remove the embryo.

Abortion is a very serious decision and not one to undertake lightly.  There are many people who have strong views for or against abortion but at the end of the day it is important that you make the right decision for yourself.  Your GP can offer you advice about having an abortion, and there are plenty of women’s groups online or within the community that will be able to help you too. 


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