Women who have unprotected sex should be fitted with intrauterine devices (IUDs) such as the coil, as opposed to taking the morning after pill.
Those are the latest claims of a group of researchers, who found that coils were actually far more effective as a method of emergency contraception.
Their study revealed that the coil and similar IUDs have a failure rate of just 0.09 percent, while the failure rate for morning after pills was between one and three percent.
The researchers, from Princeton University in the US, also believe that that coil can help to prevent pregnancies for up to five days after unprotected sex.
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Morning after pills can only protect from pregnancies for only 72 hours after intercourse.
As part of their study, the team analysed data from 42 previous investigations which looked at the use of coils as emergency contraception.
The data was collected from six countries around the world over a period of more than 30 years, from 1979 to 2011.
In total, 7,000 women were involved in the 42 studies, and eight different types of IUDs were investigated.
Commenting on the results, Kelly Cleland, the study’s lead author, said: “Unintended pregnancies are a significant health problem worldwide.
“It is estimated that globally at least 36 percent of pregnancies are unintended.
“We already know from previous research that IUDs are very cost-effective forms of regular contraception.”
She continued: “This study is the most comprehensive review to date of the efficacy of IUDs used for emergency contraception, and our results provide clear evidence that they are a highly effective method of emergency contraception, as nearly 100 percent of users overall did not become pregnant after unprotected sex when an IUD was inserted post-coitally.
“In contrast, failure rates are at least 10 to 20 times as high for emergency contraceptive pills such as ulipristal acetate and levonorgestrel.”
The results of the study have now been published in the journal of Human Reproduction.
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