Emergency contraceptive pills, or the morning-after pill
, are taken to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, whether deliberately or because other contraceptives became ineffective, such as a broken condom. So, how many times can you rely on the morning-after pill? When should you take it? Here’s what you need to know about this form of contraceptive.
1. What Is the Morning After Pill?
The morning-after pill or Plan B pills are over-the-counter medications used to prevent unwanted pregnancy. For example, you can buy Ezinelle
, a Levonorgestrel, within 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent an egg from being released or to prevent sperm from fertilizing it. You can also get Ella to delay or prevent ovulation. The earlier you take the pills, the more effective they are.
2. Who Can Take Emergency Contraceptive Pills?
Women who cannot use hormonal contraception such as combined pills and contraceptive patches can use the morning-after pill. If you think you are already pregnant, do not take these pills, although it's important to note that studies
have shown no risk to the mother or the fetus if pregnancy occurs after taking Emergency Contraception. Do not take emergency pills if you have any allergies or take medicines that do not go hand-in-hand with the pills’ active ingredients. You must consult your GP or pharmacist if you are taking various medications to ensure that taking an emergency pill is safe.
3. How Many Times Can You Rely on the Morning After Pill?
The good news is, there is no limit to how many times you can take the morning-after pill. Although they are safe to take for an extended time, they should not be a long-term solution. Try as much as possible to use these pills for their sole purpose: emergencies. These emergencies include a late contraceptive injection, a broken condom during sex, or forgetting to take your birth control. Doing this would give your body time to readjust to the effects of the pills. However, frequent consumption can throw your hormones and cycle off drastically. Therefore, it is advisable to limit taking the morning after pill once a menstrual cycle to reduce the severity of the side effects.
4. What Are the Side Effects of the Morning-After Pill?
Although neither severe nor long-term, emergency contraceptive pills can cause a few side effects. Here’s a list of some of the side effects
you can experience:
5. When Should You See Your GP?
You should always consult your physician, especially if you think you are pregnant, your period has been more than seven days late, your period is shorter or longer than usual, or you have intense lower stomach pains. Also, contact your GP for advice on taking your emergency pill in advance and know the options available to you.
You can get the morning after pill from your local pharmacy, NHS walk-in centers, and sexual health clinics.