Emergency Contraception in South Africa: All You Need to Know – Get My Pill

Emergency Contraception in South Africa: All You Need to Know

A south African women looking at a pregnancy test

Emergency contraception, also known as the morning-after pill or 'Plan B,' plays a crucial role. It's the backup plan that prevents pregnancy after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. 

However, it's essential to understand that it's just that — a backup plan — and not a replacement for regular contraception. Not only is it less effective at preventing pregnancies, it can also affect your bodies normal hormonal rhythm both in the short and long term.

In this article, we're going to delve into everything you need to know about emergency contraception, including where to buy it, how much it costs, and more, all specifically tailored to South Africans. But remember, the best strategy is still prevention, and that's where regular contraception comes in.

Understanding Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception (EC) refers to methods used to prevent pregnancy following unprotected intercourse. There are two primary types of EC: morning-after pills and intrauterine devices. In this article, we're focusing on the former.

Morning-after pills commonly contain either levonorgestrel (Example: Plan B, Norvelo, Vonel) or ulipristal acetate (Ella). They work primarily by preventing or delaying ovulation, thus avoiding fertilization.

It's vital to remember that these methods should be used as a backup, not a go-to option. They are not as effective as regular contraception, and their effectiveness decreases significantly after the first 72 hours post-intercourse.

Moreover, they do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). For consistent and reliable pregnancy prevention, consider using a regular contraception method.

In the following sections, we'll explore where to buy morning-after pills in South Africa, their cost, and other frequently asked questions about emergency contraception.

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Where to Buy the Morning After Pill in South Africa

In South Africa, morning-after pills can be purchased at various locations. Some of the easiest places would be the large pharmacies such as Dis-Chem, Clicks, and Medirite pharmacies.

Many people ask "Can my boyfriend pick up the morning after pill?" The short answer is Yes, but it depends on the pharmacy. They usually require your identification, as well as answering of specific questions related to why you are using it (and how often you have done this previously). While this may seem tedious, it is done with your safety in mind

Price of Morning After Pill in South Africa

The cost of the morning-after pill varies depending on the brand and where you buy it. On average, you can expect to pay between R75 to R120 for a morning-after pill in South Africa.

We’ve listed some of the most common brands below with the prices (as regulated by the SEP)

Morning pill brandMorning pill price
NorlevoR 68.53 - R 122.95
Plan bR 57.58 - R 106.21
VonelR 61.70 - R 112.51
MedilevoR 68.53 - R 122.95
MedinorR 68.53 - R 122.95
EllaR 163.66 - R 260.54

This price will be very similar regardless of which pharmacy you go to.

Remember, while the price of a morning-after pill might seem low, it's worth considering the cost of anxiety and uncertainty that comes with the risk of unplanned pregnancy. Regular contraception provides a more reliable, cost-effective solution for preventing pregnancy.

Prescription for Morning After Pill in South Africa

In South Africa, you do not require a prescription to obtain the morning-after pill. Both DisChem, Clicks, and other major pharmacies offer over-the-counter sales of emergency contraception. This means that you can simply walk into the store and ask for the pill without needing a prescription from a doctor.

Choosing the Best Morning After Pill

Several brands of morning-after pills are available in South Africa, and they all function similarly by preventing or delaying ovulation. The effectiveness of these pills decreases significantly after 72 hours post-intercourse, so it's crucial to take them as soon as possible after unprotected sex.

The effectiveness of each one is similar, but the side effect profiles can change depending on your individual profile.

Key Takeaway

Emergency contraception plays an important role as a backup plan to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. In South Africa, you can easily obtain the morning-after pill from pharmacies like DisChem and stores like Clicks, even without a prescription.

However, it's crucial to remember that the morning-after pill should not be relied upon as a regular form of contraception. It does not offer protection against STIs and is less effective than regular contraception methods.

For reliable and consistent pregnancy prevention, consider using a regular contraception method. At Get My Pill, we offer a variety of contraceptive options that can help you find the best method for your needs and lifestyle.

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The right birth control starts by asking the right questions

How to get birth control in South Africa

When we first started in 2019, our goal was to help South African women get the Birth Control medication they need. 

The conventional method of obtaining contraception, which involves taking leave from work, queuing up at the nearby pharmacy, and responding to uncomfortable inquiries from a stranger face-to-face, lacks practicality. By eliminating these inconveniences, we strive to empower you with the ability to manage your birth control effectively.

The morning after pill in South Africa

Choosing to go on birth control is often considered a better option than relying solely on the morning-after pill due to its significant advantages. Firstly, birth control methods such as oral contraceptives, patches, or intrauterine devices provide ongoing protection against unintended pregnancies, offering a consistent and reliable solution. This regular use of birth control eliminates the need to scramble for emergency contraception after unprotected intercourse, reducing stress and uncertainty.

Therefore, opting for birth control allows individuals to take control of their reproductive health in a proactive and reliable manner, fostering peace of mind and long-term stability.