The morning after pill is emergency contraception that can prevent you from getting pregnant after unprotected sex. It works by delaying or preventing an egg from being released by your ovaries. Alternatively, if ovulation has already occurred, it may prevent sperm from reaching the egg.
Medical speak: Levonorgestrel works by delaying the surge of luteinising hormones, interrupting follicular development and ovulation. Studies also show that it may disrupt the formation of corpus luteum (the cells that create progesterone to sustain pregnancy).
The morning after pill successfully prevents pregnancy roughly 85% of the time if taken correctly, according to Family Planning Victoria.
Note: The morning after pill doesn’t protect you from STIs. After unprotected sex, you should see your doctor about getting tested for these.
When should you take a morning after pill?
You should take the morning after pill as soon as possible after having unprotected sex (e.g. if you missed a daily birth control pill, the condom broke, or you forgot to use contraception).
Don’t let the name fool you; the morning after pill can be effective 3 or even 5 days after intercourse. But that doesn’t mean you should wait because effectiveness rapidly declines after 72 hours. The sooner you take it, the better your chance of preventing pregnancy (partly because the type of pill that works up to 3 days later is more effective than the 5-day pill). Provide your doctor or pharmacist with a timeframe so they can give you the most appropriate pill.
Where can you get a morning after pill?
You can get a morning after pill from a pharmacy without a prescription. Keep in mind that the pharmacist is required to ask questions for people getting various types of medications – they aren’t judging or trying to embarrass you.
You can also see your GP or visit a family planning clinic to acquire the morning after pill.
What does the morning after pill do to your body?
You don’t need to worry that the pill will affect your fertility or ability to get pregnant in the future. If you’ve heard this before, rest assured it’s a myth. Everything should be back to normal by your next cycle – if not, be sure to see your doctor.
All medications can have side effects. Some side effects may include headaches, nausea, tenderness in the breasts, and bloating. Health Direct also lists dizziness and abdominal pain as potential side effects. Taking the pill with food can help reduce some side effects such as nausea.
Note: If you experience vomiting or diarrhoea shortly after taking the pill, you may need to take another dose to increase effectiveness. Consult your doctor about this.
What does the morning after pill do to your period?
This can depend on where you are in your cycle; however, taking a morning after pill will usually have no effect on your next period. Other times, you may notice your period is slightly late or early, or you may bleed less or more than usual.
What to do after taking the morning after pill
- Make sure to take the medication straight away and eat something to reduce side effects.
- After taking a morning after pill, you should consider getting tested for any STIs you may have caught during unprotected sex.
- If your next period is 5 days late, take a pregnancy test to verify if the pill did or didn’t work.
- This pill is only effective for one instance of unprotected sex. You should resume your usual form of contraception, as the morning after pill shouldn’t be used as a regular form of birth control.
Getting a morning after pill might feel a bit embarrassing, but it’s best not to delay if you want to successfully prevent a pregnancy. Now that you know it’s a safe, common, and generally effective method of emergency contraception, we hope you’ll feel comfortable asking for it if the need arises. In fact, you can order one discreetly right here from YOULY.