How Effective Is the Morning After Pill?

by | Mar 16, 2021 | Guides

If you’ve accidentally had unprotected sex or your usual form of contraception has failed (e.g. broken condom or missed pill), you may be considering getting a morning after pill. Let’s look at how effective this pill can be at preventing you from falling pregnant, focusing on these common questions:

  • How effective is Morning After Pill?
  • How late can you take Morning After Pill?
  • How long does the morning after pill work?
  • How effective is the morning after pill when ovulating?
  • How do you know if Morning After Pill worked?

How effective is the morning after pill?

The effectiveness of emergency contraception drops gradually from the time of sex. So, when you’re wondering how effective is Morning After Pill ?’, it’s important to consider how soon you’re taking it.

For the best chance of avoiding pregnancy, you should aim to take the morning after pill within 72 hours of having unprotected sex. For women who do so, Morning After Pill is effective 89% of the time. This means roughly 1 in 10 women will still become pregnant after taking the morning after pill within 72 hours.

Don’t waste any time though – the pill is more effective the sooner you take it, so it’s best to take the ‘morning after’ name literally if you can. It’s over 97% effective when taken within 24 hours.

How late can you take Morning After Pill?

Morning after pills can be taken up to 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. However, as mentioned above, their effectiveness drops after each day – especially after the first 3 days.

How long is Morning After Pill effective?

If you’re wondering ‘how long does the morning after pill work?’, you may actually be thinking of birth control pills or another form of contraception. Morning After Pill is an emergency contraception designed to counter one-off instances of unprotected sex – they aren’t meant for use as an ongoing or preventative birth control option. So, if you’ve had unprotected sex in the days following taking a morning after pill, you will usually need to take another dose.

Note: Regularly taking the morning after pill is not ideal. Consider another form of birth control such as condoms or the pill, and only resort to Morning After Pill when needed (e.g. when a condom breaks or if you forget your pill).

How effective is the morning after pill when ovulating?

If you have unprotected sex while ovulating, taking the morning pill quickly is even more important. Since emergency contraception medications such as Morning After Pill work by delaying ovulation, they are much less effective if you’re already ovulating. Taking the morning after pill as soon as possible may help you stop your ovaries from releasing an egg while the sperm is still alive.

How to Know if Morning After Pill Worked

The only guaranteed sign that your morning after pill worked is when you get your next period. If it doesn’t come right when you expect it to, a pregnancy test can help determine whether you’re pregnant or if your period is just a little late.

Need to get some morning after pills without the pharmacy trip? YOULY has you covered.


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