The Morning After Pill: Everything You Need to Know

Have you heard of the morning after pill? Learn all about it and the myths and truths surrounding it in this article.
The Morning After Pill: Everything You Need to Know

Last update: 29 May, 2021

The morning after pill has become more popular with time, although not everyone knows the details about it. Every morning or afternoon in any part of the world, a woman is taking one of these pills in order to avoid an unwanted pregnancy.

Below, we’ll present the main characteristics of the morning-after pill, a timely prevention method that’s currently in use in public health.

Keys to the Morning After Pill

A woman taking a pill.

As the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products explains:

  • It’s an emergency contraceptive method. Thus, you should only use it in situations when some surprise accident has taken place. If you forgot to take your birth control or the condom broke, this is the time to use it.
  • It’s not a consistent solution. This doesn’t take the place of other preventative methods, but rather should only be used for a single event. Using it regularly can cause other health problems for a woman.
  • Its effectiveness decreases over time. If you take it within 24 hours of having sex, its efficiency rate is 95%. It reduces to 60% after 72 hours.
  • It doesn’t prevent sexually transmitted infections (STI’s). Its only function is to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
  • Take it after sex. It’s only used after having sex after realizing that there is a pregnancy risk. It’s not effective if you take it before sexual relations.
  • Keep using your normal birth control. For the rest of the month after your next period, the woman should keep using her normal method of birth control. This pill doesn’t mean that you should stop using your other contraceptives.

The Morning After Pill’s Function

You’ll get a bottle with one or two pills for you to take every 12 hours. What it does is inhibit fertilization. If the woman is in the first cycle of menstruation, then it inhibits ovulation. If an egg has already been released, it acts as a barrier so that it doesn’t read the uterus and combine with sperm.

Does It Have Abortive Effects?

In the case of a previously existing pregnancythe morning after pill will not cause an abortion. Therefore, the following article published by the Public Health Service of Mexico admits that the idea that it is abortifacient is erroneous.

Along these lines, the fetus is not affected if fertilization occurs while taking the morning-after pill. There is no risk of malformations or other defects in the baby’s development. In fact, this is another of the misconceptions that circulate around it.

We recommend you read: 3 Reasons to Get a Pap Smear

Side Effects of the Morning After Pill

The side effects from the morning after pill are much lighter than those from previously used emergency contraceptive methods. Just like the others, it can cause nausea and vomiting.

If the symptoms are abundant within a few hours of taking it, you should consult a doctor immediately. You may need a new dose to ensure pregnancy prevention.

On the other hand, although there are very few cases in which it’s advisable not to use the morning after pill as an emergency contraceptive, it’s contraindicated for women with severe liver disease.

It’s also not advisable for those who suffer from cardiovascular deficiencies or a history of cancer. In this regard, the Spanish Heart Foundation warns that its regular use causes damage to the heart.

Side Effects of the Morning After Pill

The correct use of the morning-after pill

Dr. Judith Toro Merlo admits that the World Health Organization authorizes and promotes it for this function. In fact, it can be purchased in hospitals or pharmacies without a prescription.

Any woman may need it at some point in her life. Either because she’s forgotten to use her preventive methods or other oversights such as a casual unprotected relationship. It’s also an option to consider in more serious cases, such as rape.

However, pharmacists insist that this pill shouldn’t be used as a contraceptive; it should only be used in emergency cases. Therefore, you should take a traditional contraceptive if you want to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.

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