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Had unprotected sex?

Your step-by-step guide for what to do next

Monday, September 26, 2016


Maybe the condom broke, you didn’t use one, or you forgot to take your pill - it’s okay, we know from time to time, accidents happen.

But whether it was a one night stand, sex with your partner, or something in between, there are a couple of things to think about.

We’ve created an easy checklist of what you need to know (and do) over the next few weeks to look after yourself.

Within 30 minutes

Lower your chances of a UTI (urinary tract infection)

Weeing soon after having sex will help flush out any bacteria that you might have been exposed to during sex. Drinking lots of water is also really helpful.

Bacteria that gets into your urethra (where wee comes out) can cause an infection, which means it can make it hurt to wee, you might need to wee more often, or you could have pain in your tummy.

Sex increases your risk of developing a UTI, and because of the way female bodies are set up, females are more likely to develop a UTI.

If you do later think you have a UTI, make an appointment at Family Planning or with your doctor to get some antibiotics. This will clear up most UTIs in a few days.

Within 72 hours

Take the emergency contraceptive pill

The ECP (emergency contraceptive pill) can be taken up to 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex, but new research shows it’s effective up to four days after sex.

We say the sooner you take it, the better, so make an appointment at Family Planning or with your doctor as soon as possible.

Don’t forget we run drop-in sessions from many of our clinics, so you might not even need an appointment.

If you can’t get to a clinic or a doctor in time, you can still buy the ECP at the pharmacy without a prescription – although this can be more expensive.

The ECP is 98% effective for women of an average weight.

Or, within 5 days

Get an IUD

A copper IUD (intra uterine device) is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. Almost anyone can get an IUD, but it is especially recommended for women who are too late for the ECP or weigh more than 70kg.

The IUD can be inserted into the uterus up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex, depending on where you are in your cycle. A copper IUD is a really good idea because once it’s in, you’ll be protected for ten years, plus it’s 99% effective – so it’s one of the best options out there.

2 weeks later

Get an STI check

Whether you’ve noticed symptoms or not, you should get an STI test two weeks after having unprotected sex, especially if it was with someone new.

If it was unprotected sex with your regular partner however, and you’ve both been tested and cleared of any STIs in the past, then you should be okay.

Remember you can get an STI test at Family Planning – all you need to do is pay for your appointment and it’s free if you are under 22.

3 weeks later

Do a pregnancy test

It’s best to wait three two weeks after having unprotected sex before you take a pregnancy test, or from the first day of your missed period. If you take it before then, your body may not have had enough time to build up the hCG hormone, which is how pregnancy tests detect pregnancy.

You can do a pregnancy test at Family Planning, your regular doctor or sexual health clinics, or you can buy them pharmacies and supermarkets.

* If you’re coming to a Family Planning clinic to do a pregnancy test or STI test, make sure you don’t wee right before your appointment, because you’ll probably need to give a urine sample.

For next time

Organise contraception for next time

If you’re using condoms as your main method of contraception and you find you’re having a few slip ups with them, think about switching to a more reliable type of contraception.

Long-lasting contraceptives like the IUD and implant are really effective at preventing unintended pregnancies and they last for 3 to 10 years. There are heaps of options available though and our nurses are here to help you decide what type of contraception will work best for you.

Whichever type of contraception you decide to use, remember to use condoms as well if you want to protect yourself from STIs.

Using a condom plus your regular method of contraception will help protect you from unintended pregnancies and STIs.

Unprotected Sex 2016

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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