Pregnancy and Contraception
If you are worried about pregnancy, you can take emergency contraception within 5 days of the incident. It works most effectively if you take it within the first 24 hours, so try to act quickly if you can.
There are two main types of emergency contraception:
1. The ‘morning after’ pill
2. The IUD (intrauterine device, a coil).
1. The ‘morning after’ pill
Levonelle has to be taken within 72 hours (3 days) of the incident
ellaOne has to be taken with 120 hours (5 days)
2. The coil
The IUD can be fitted up to 120 hours (5 days) afterwards. It’s a very small, T-shaped frame with a thin copper coil around the stem, which is inserted into the neck of the womb. It has to be fitted by a trained healthcare professional. It’s normally used as a method of long-term birth control, but can also be used to prevent pregnancy in an emergency.
Remember that neither of these methods offers any protection against STIs so check out the Sexual Health page for more information about that.
Where can I get the emergency contraceptive pill?
Some pharmacies will now give it for free so long as you’re registered with a Cambridge GP. The pharmacist will ask you some questions and give you the pill as well as further information. You don’t have to tell the full truth in answer to the questions, however you will have to confirm your name. If you had any kind of sex without protection, you are eligible for the pill, so you don’t need to tell them about your experience if you don’t want to.
The following pharmacies are part of this scheme:
Boots, Newmarket Road
Boots, Cherry Hinton Road
Boots, Grafton Centre
Boots, Petty Cury
Kays Chemist, Wulfstan Way
Lloyds, Arbury Court
Lloyds, Trumpington Street
Co-operative, Barnwell Road
Superdrug, Fitzroy Street
Other pharmacies will provide the pill and the same information, but you will have to pay. It will cost around £25.
2. Your GP
Your GP will ask you some questions to decide if emergency contraception is the right choice for you, as well as explaining side effects and any emotions you may be feeling. You can then get a free prescription to take to a pharmacy.
This is a good option if you’d like to chat to someone about the incident, and what your options are.
3. The Lime Tree Clinic on Mill Road
The Lime Tree offers emergency contraception without appointment. Go to the Sexual Health page for more info on the clinic.
Where can I get the IUD?
This has to be fitted by a trained healthcare professional, so in Cambridge it’s only really available from your GP or the Lime Tree Clinic. There may be other private facilities as well.
The most obvious sign of pregnancy is a missed period (although a missed period does not necessarily mean you are pregnant). Breast tenderness, nausea, tiredness and frequent urination are also common signs of pregnancy. If you have missed a period and think there is a chance you may be pregnant, get tested. If you are pregnant, the sooner you know, the more time you have to think about the options that are available to you.
CUSU provide pregnancy tests which they will send to you in college in an unmarked envelope (http://www.studentadvice.cam.ac.uk/welfare/pregnancy/test/)
If you are pregnant and are unsure what to do, you can talk confidentially to the College Nurse, your Tutor, GP or the Student Advice Service.
If you are pregnant, you have three options:
1) Continuing the pregnancy and raising the child
2) Continuing the pregnancy and putting the child up for adoption
3) Ending the pregnancy with an abortion
You have the right to choose any of these options and you can find support with all of them.
Whether you are confused or completely sure of which option you wish to take, it’s important to get advice and support from the right people.
Continuing the pregnancy
If you want to have a child, it’s possible you are eligible for benefits to help with the costs, and you can contact the Citizens Advice Bureau for help with this. If you need time out to have the child, you can contact the Student Advice Service to help you navigate the University’s rules about maternity and intermitting. Maternity and pregnancy are protected characteristics under the law and you should not suffer discrimination because of any of your choices.
Find out about support for student parents here: http://www.studentadvice.cam.ac.uk/welfare/childcare/
Brook, a charity devoted to providing support on pregnancy for young people, also has a useful website: http://www.brook.org.uk/
To find out more about having your child adopted, follow this link: http://www.baaf.org.uk/info/pregnant
If you’re pregnant and considering abortion it’s important to know that you’re not alone. 1 in 3 women in the UK will have an abortion by the time they are 45 years old.
Have a look at the British Pregnancy Advisory Service website for more information on abortion, including information on abortion counselling, what happens on the day and supporting a friend through abortion.
Your GP, College Nurse or organisations such as Brook (http://www.brook.org.uk/your-life/category/pregnancy) will be able to offer advice and support with your decision.
There is an abortion clinic in Cambridge:
Marie Stopes UK Cambridge
The Woodlands Surgery
48-49 Bateman Street
Tel: 0345 300 8090