Women are still embarrassed to ask for emergency contraception, new research has found.
Women have long had the freedom to buy the morning after pill from a pharmacy in the UK, or the option to book an appointment with a doctor to obtain it. However recent research has found that females are still reluctant to ask for it and as a result are putting themselves at risk of unplanned pregnancies.
HRA Pharma, manufacturers of morning after pill ellaOne, discovered almost a third of women (28 per cent) surveyed admitted to feeling uncomfortable asking for emergency contraception, while 34 per cent of those who have previously taken it have used excuses to hide their embarrassment when asking for it.
One in five participants revealed they wouldn't tell anyone if they did need to take the morning after pill and over a quarter confessed they would wait until the shop was empty before requesting the pill if in the UK.
It's been suggested that women's reluctance to openly discuss emergency contraception is made worse due to them not completely understanding their own fertility, which could leave them vulnerable to unplanned pregnancies.
"Ovulation is highly unpredictable, and because of this, conception is possible during most of a woman's monthly cycle - this means there is no such thing as a 'risk free period'," explained pharmacist Deborah Evans. "This research showed almost a quarter of women admitting to having unprotected sex in the last year, when they were not planning a pregnancy. The confusion about ovulation, plus embarrassment around the topic of emergency contraception, means that women are taking risks rather than taking steps to protect themselves from unplanned pregnancy."
She also urges women to turn to a pharmacist or doctor as soon as they can after unprotected sex, as it is their job to help customers get the best treatment possible. With private areas for confidential chats available in most UK chemists, she encourages women to look at the morning after pill as an informed, sensible choice to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.