Medical Q&As

Sexual intercourse - emergency protection?

I had sex for the first time in the last twenty-four hours. I have been on the pill for several years for menstrual irregularity. Last night I forgot to take my pill and now Iím wondering should I go and get the morning after pill, as Iím afraid of pregnancy. I think we used the condoms correctly but canít be one hundred percent sure. Should I get the morning after pill?

The contraceptive pill prevents conception by stopping ovulation. It has been established that taking the pill for seven consecutive days is sufficient to prevent the ovum or egg from being released. Therefore if you had been taking the pill for seven days prior to intercourse then you are sufficiently protected. In that scenario there is no need to get the morning after pill. If on the other hand you had only resumed taking the pill in recent days following the usual seven pill free days then your level of protection would be lower. However, the fact that you had also used a condom would have given additional protection. In that alternative scenario it could be argued that using the morning after pill is also unnecessary. If you are still uneasy about your situation then you should discuss the matter further with your GP. I note your comment about using condoms correctly. You might find it useful to check out our special feature on the correct use of condoms, which can be accessed at: http://www.irishhealth.com/index.html?level=4&id=115. In summary I believe that the risk of pregnancy occurring in the scenario that you have described is extremely remote.