By Magdalena Stec
#Emergency contraception, also known as EC, is a woman’s last opportunity to prevent a pregnancy after unprotected sex or a problem with contraception. Although there are three choices of EC available, most women only know about one – a pill that is available over the counter, but is actually the least effective of the three methods.
That’s why a team of healthcare providers and researchers led by Dr. Sheila Dunn, Women’s College Hospital (WCH) physician, recently launched whatsnextforme.ca – a #mobile-friendly guide to all emergency contraception options available to women.
“After years of working in reproductive health and emergency contraception, I noticed how often women need back-up birth control and how many don’t know what their options are. We developed whatsnextforme.ca to bridge this gap and provide women who need emergency contraception with information about all their options, so that they can make an informed choice that is right for them,” says Dr. Dunn, project lead and research director of the Family Practice Health Centre at WCH.
Whatsnextforme.ca was developed using the most up-to-date evidence available, and designed based on feedback from young women to provide user-friendly, easy-to-understand information. Although it’s primarily aimed at women between 18 and 30 years old, anyone who’s sexually active can benefit from the information.
“Most women know about Plan B pill, which is actually the least effective especially if there is a delay in getting emergency contraception or if a woman weighs more than 75 kg. There are more choices out there that women don’t know about but may be better suited for them,” said Dr. Dunn.
One such option is the copper IUD. It’s the most effective EC method and can also be left in place to provide highly effective ongoing contraception. However, even if a woman wanted to get an IUD, she might have difficulty getting one because few doctors or nurse practitioners insert them.
To help women figure out where they need to go to get emergency contraception, including clinics that insert emergency IUDs, the website includes a handy clinic finder for local sexual health clinics that provide emergency contraception consultation services. The clinic finder is currently limited to Toronto, with the possibility of expanding in the future.
The website was developed by a group of healthcare providers and researchers based at Women’s College Hospital including Dr. Sheila Dunn, Dr. Payal Agarwal, Dilzayn Panjwani, pharmacist researcher Lisa McCarthy and WCH’s Bay Centre for Birth Control team.
Visit whatsnextforme.ca to learn more.
Magdalena Stec is a Marketing & Communications Specialist at Women’s College Hospital.