08/03/2011 04:54 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 06:12 BST

Morning-After Pill May Be As Safe As Regular Birth Control

man-woman-bed-morning-after-pill Could the morning-after pill be used as a non-emergency contraception? Photo: Getty

If you have unprotected sex or you think your usual contraception might not have worked, the morning-after pill could well prevent you from having an unwanted pregnancy. But that's all it's recommended for - an emergency backup.

However scientists writing in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology claim it may be reasonable to take the morning-after pill in other circumstances too. For instance, if you weren't in a relationship and not having sex frequently - which means you may not be taking the pill or any other form of regular contraception - you could take the morning-after pill just before or after having sex.

In fact, according to the researchers, some women in Africa and Asia use the morning-after pill as a planned method of birth control, rather than an emergency backup.

But is it safe to do so? The researchers say it may well be, despite the fact that the morning-after pill is not promoted as a regular form of contraception.

Their report is based on a review of studies on levonorgestrel, the synthetic hormone used in many brands of morning-after pills, which works by stopping you ovulate. They found women who used the morning-after pill at the time of having sex had an estimated 5 chance.

However the morning-after pill wasn't as effective as long-term contraception methods such as the regular pill or the contraceptive patch, the researchers add.

There again, given the cost of the morning-after pill (around £25 a pop in most pharmacies), it's an expensive option, even when you only use it occasionally.

Or is it? What do you think?

If your mind matters follow us on Twitter and become a fan on Facebook