Emergency Contraception: The Facts

“I had unprotected sex last night and now I’m worried about getting pregnant. Do I need to see the doctor to get the morning after pill?”


Even with the best intentions, unprotected sex can sometimes happen. You may have got caught up in the moment and forgotten to use contraception, or maybe the method you used failed. It might be tempting to do nothing and hope for the best, but there are options available to protect you from unwanted pregnancies.


What Is Emergency Contraception?

Emergency contraception is available in two forms, the emergency contraceptive pill (the ‘morning after pill’) and the intrauterine device (IUD or coil). Recent changes to the law in Bermuda now allow pharmacies to sell the morning after pill Levonelle over-the-counter without the need for a prescription from the doctor.

Levonelle needs to be taken within 72 hours (3 days) after having unprotected sex, and the sooner it is taken the more effective it is. It contains the hormone levonorgestrel that is thought to stop or delay ovaries releasing an egg.

This drug does not cause an abortion, as it prevents the egg from ever being fertilised by sperm.

If it is past 72 hours since having unprotected sex, then you will need to see your general physician (GP) to discuss other alternatives like an IUD or ellaOne tablet that can be taken up to 5 days after having unprotected sex.

The emergency contraceptive pill should only be used for emergencies because it is not as reliable as the pill or condoms, and doesn’t protect you against sexually transmitted diseases. It is not 100% effective, so you will need to see the doctor if you’re concerned that you might be pregnant.

Image result for levonelle

What Are The Side Effects Of The Morning After Pill?

There are no serious or long-term side effects from taking the morning-after pill, but it can cause headaches, tummy ache, changes to your next period and it can make you feel sick. If you actually are sick within 2 hours of taking Levonelle then you’ll need to take another dose as the drug may not have been absorbed properly.


Find The Right Contraception For You

If you’re not using a regular method of contraception, then you might consider doing so to protect yourself in the future from an unintended pregnancy. There are several methods of contraception available, so speak to your GP about finding the best one to suit you.


How People’s Can Help

If you need emergency contraception within 72 hours of having unprotected sex, our pharmacists can help you at either our Victoria Street location or at our hospital location in the Acute Care Wing.

People’s stocks a range of contraceptive items including condoms, which can also help to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.


We remind everyone that no method of contraception is 100% guaranteed. If you are in any doubt about what’s right for you or any symptoms you’re experiencing, chat to your GP as soon as you can.


If you think you may be pregnant, it’s best to know as soon as possible. People’s also stocks a wide range of pregnancy tests and ovulation tests for family planning and to help you get the answers you need; whatever the result, especially if it’s positive, we recommend visiting your GP if you have questions.


Chat To Our Team

Our stores open from 8:00AM – 8:30PM Monday-Saturday and 10:00AM-6:00PM on Sundays.  People’s ACW (at the hospital’s Acute Care Wing) is open from 10:00AM-4:00PM on public holidays if you are ever in need.  Simply come in and chat to any of our friendly and professional team.


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