Sometimes a woman realizes right after sex that she wasn’t protected.
Perhaps the condom broke. Perhaps she forgot to take the Pill or took it incorrectly. Perhaps the diaphragm dislodged or the I.U.D. fell out. Perhaps she wasn’t protected at all.
For times like this, there’s a new emergency contraception in Canada. NorLevo comes in a little pink box and is available without a prescription. It should be used within 72 hours of unprotected sex, the earlier the better.
“NorLevo is an excellent option if regular contraception has failed or is forgotten,” says Dr. Vivien Brown, a family physician on staff at the University of Toronto who has an expertise in women’s health. According to Brown, NorLevo is 95 per cent effective in preventing pregnancy when taken between 12 and 24 hours after unprotected sex. When taken within 24 to 48 hours after intercourse, it is 85 per cent effective and when taken between 48 and 72 hours afterward, it is 58 per cent effective.
NorLevo is the second emergency contraceptive available in Canada. The other one is Plan B, also known as the “morning after pill.” These products are not meant to be used as regular contraception. “Women should keep in mind that NorLevo is a good option ‘just in case.’ It is not intended for long-term contraception. Nor does it protect against future acts of unprotected sex,” says Brown.
“If women do not wish to become pregnant they should abstain or consider contraceptive options that regularly protect against pregnancy,” she adds.
Studies show that about half of pregnancies in Canada are unintended. Half occur among women using contraception. Many of these women are using birth control incorrectly or inconsistently.
NorLevo is considered safe for all women of childbearing age. It can cause nausea and vomiting, pain in the lower abdomen, headaches, fatigue and dizziness.