The morning after pill is taken usually after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. Although it is called the morning after pill, the term ‘the morning after’ is quite misleading, as this pill can be taken up to 72 hours after sex. There are a number of different pills that can be taken, although people should be aware that no morning after pill efficiency is 100%.
What is the Morning After Pill?
The morning after pill is a form of emergency contraception that can be either prescribed by a doctor or received over the counter from a pharmacy. There are a number of different morning after pill brands including:
• Ella One which is the first pill that is said to be effective when taken within five days after unprotected sex.
• The Plan B Pill which is advised to be taken within three days after unprotected sex. Alarmingly the Plan B Pill is manufactured by Norplant – a company which also makes a contraceptive pill that is known for having dangerous side effects
• Levonelle which is advised to be taken within three days of unprotected sex.
All of the above contain oestrogen (which is contained in the normal contraceptive pill) but in a much higher dosage, and all are thought to work by preventing the ovaries from releasing an egg.
How to Take the Morning After Pill
For the morning after pill success rate to be at its highest, you should take the pill with water within 12 hours of having unprotected sex. Although some pills do say they can be taken up to 5 days later, the effectiveness does decrease after the first day. You should then use contraception for the rest of your menstrual cycle and contact your doctor if you have any problems such as abdominal bleeding or stomach ache.
Is the Morning After Pill Safe?
This is a question that is debated quite a lot with some people saying the morning after pill is safe and others saying the opposite. What can be said is that there have currently been no long term studies which show that the pill is safe and there has been no conclusive evidence as to whether taking the pill leads to cancer in later life or not. There has also been no conclusive evidence as to whether taking the pill (and it not working) can lead to abnormalities in the child if the pregnancy is continued.
As all versions of the morning after pill contain a high dose of oestrogen it is fair to assume that there are the same possible side effects that come with taking the contraceptive pill but in a much higher concentration. The side effects that are possible are described on the leaflet of each morning after pill and what is experienced varies depending on the individual.