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Morning After Pill: How Does The Emergency Contraception Work?

The morning after pill is a type of emergency birth control. It is used to prevent pregnancy when the initial birth control method has failed, such as missing birth control pill for that day or a broken condom.

The morning after pill is a type of emergency birth control. It is used to prevent pregnancy for women whose initial birth control method has failed such as missing birth control pill for that day or a compromised condom and also in cases of sexual assault.

The morning after pill is intended as backup and is not a primary method of birth control.

The morning after pills became an over-the-counter drug in India in 2005, however, there is still loads of misinformation surrounding it. With a lack of sex education in India and the taboo nature of contraception, especially for women.

There is misinformation regarding morning after pill?

Many wrongly learn from pornography and movies that unprotected sex is okay as long as the woman takes the morning after pill. Many do not properly research the side effects or consult a physician to understand if morning after pills will work for them or will conflict with a previously administered medication.

This can lead to poorly informed decisions regarding morning after pills, sexually transmitted diseases, mental distress and adverse health issues. However, with more insight and awareness, using morning after pills can be made safer.

How do Morning after pill work?

Morning after pills can help prevent pregnancy if you\’ve happened to have unprotected sex, and they work by delaying or preventing ovulation. Morning after pills do not work after confirmed pregnancy.

India has currently only approved Levonorgestrel (LNG) 0.75mg tablets for use as emergency contraceptive pills. Levonorgestrel is available over-the-counter without a prescription and is the hormone component that delays ovulation.

For maximum efficacy, emergency contraception should be started as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse, and within 120 hours. You can take emergency contraceptive pills anytime during your menstrual cycle.

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How to use the Plan B pills?

For Plan B (Levonorgestrel) pills, it is instructed to take one pill as soon as possible and less than 72 hours after unprotected sex. If you happen to vomit within two hours after taking the morning after pill, it is recommended to consult your health care provider if another dose is needed.

The morning after pill doesn’t offer lasting protection from pregnancy, therefore it is advised to abstain from sex before starting another method of birth control. Using the morning after pill may delay your period by up to one week and in the absence of periods within three to four weeks of taking the morning after pill, it is best to take a pregnancy test.

Morning after pills may not be effective in all cases

Emergency contraception is an effective option to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex, but it isn’t as effective as other methods of contraception and isn’t recommended for regular use. The morning after pill is also not a fail-safe means of contraception, and can fail even after proper use. It also offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections.

The morning after pill isn’t suitable for everyone. It is advised to not take a morning after pill if you\’re allergic to any component in it or if you’re taking certain medications that can decrease the effectiveness of the morning after pill. There is also a risk of poor performance of the pill for individuals who have a body-mass index of 30 or higher.

What are the side effects of morning after pills?

Common side effects of the morning after pill such as nausea, dizziness, fatigue, headache, breast tenderness, bleeding between periods or heavier menstrual bleeding and lower abdominal pain can last for a few days to couple weeks. In case of more severe, unprecedented or long-term effects, it is recommended to consult a physician.

In case of bleeding or spotting that lasts longer than a week or severe lower abdominal pain three to five weeks after taking the morning after pill, consult a physician immediately. These can indicate a miscarriage or that the fertilized egg has implanted outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube (ectopic pregnancy).

Final Thoughts

Sex should be safe and enjoyable for women, and the risk of pregnancy is a responsibility for both partners, as opposed to only being a lonely, stressful process for one. It is recommended to ease into sexual activity with the right knowledge and information of all risks and pitfalls.

It is best to put your health first and consult a trusted health practitioner to guide you with regard to means of contraception and what will suit you best.

Image source: science photo library and Lisa Semenstova, free and edited on CanvaPro

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At Women's Web we try to bring you information on Fitness & Wellness topics of interest to you. This is not, however diagnostic or prescriptive information, so please do consult your doctor or therapist before using any of it.


About the Author

Ria Tirkey

I am Ria from New Delhi. I did my Bachelors in Political Science and History and am currently pursuing my Masters in Political Science from University of Delhi and Postgraduate Diploma in Criminal Justice from read more...

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