Emergency contraception, also known as the morning after pill, is a high dose of birth control pills that must be taken within 72 hours (or three days) after unprotected sexual intercourse to prevent pregnancy. The sooner it is taken, the more effective it is. Emergency contraception (EC) is not to be confused with RU-486 (mifepristone), a pill that causes medical abortion in pregnant women.
There are two forms of EC available in Malawi and they may work in several ways: they delay or inhibit the release of an egg (ovulation), prevent the egg and the sperm from meeting (fertilization) or stop a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall (implantation).
The most common form of EC is called Plan B, and the only hormone it contains is progestin. Emergency contraception is available from pharmacists over-the-counter across Malawi.
If you don’t get your period within three weeks of taking emergency contraception, you should visit a health care provider and take a pregnancy test.
You should know that Plan B is not a regular contraceptive method. It is an emergency measure only that can have unpleasant side effects. It does not protect you against any sexually transmitted infections. Think of it as an emergency backup -- not for routine use. That's why it's called Plan B.
Emergency contraceptive pills can stop a pregnancy from happening if taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. You can get them at a pharmacy, a health facility or a Banja Lamtsogolo or all Blue Star Clinics in Malawi.