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How effective is Morning after pill?

How effective is Morning after pill

Morning-after pill is an emergency contraception used to avoid unwanted pregnancy after having unprotected sex. These pills are required in case when you forget to use birth control, or your birth control doesn’t work.

These pills work by delaying the ovulation cycle and hence, avoid pregnancy, but it doesn’t bring about abortion.

The pill regimens recommended by WHO include: Levonorgestrel (a steroid progestin hormone). Ulipristal acetate. Combined oral contraceptives (COCs) that contain Ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel.

In What Cases Morning-After Pill Is Used?

The morning-after pill (or emergency contraceptives) can be taken in the below-mentioned cases after engaging in the sexual activity-

  • When no other protection measure is used.
  • In case of improper or incorrect use of contraceptives
  • In case of sexual assault, to avoid undesired pregnancy

How Effective Is Morning-After Pill?

The Morning-after pills prevent 89% of pregnancies if taken within 72 hours after having sexual intercourse. These pills can be taken within 5 days after intercourse, but they are more effective if taken sooner after engaging in sexual activity.

The ECPs with ulipristal acetate has proven to be more effective than ECPs with levonorgestrel. However, no contraceptive is 100% effective against pregnancy. There is always a probability of getting pregnant even after having emergency contraceptives.

morning after pills

How Much To Take?

Emergency contraceptives should not be consumed more than once a day. Also, note that it should be taken within 72 hours after having sexual intercourse.

In What Scenarios Morning-After Pill Does Not Work?

Morning after pill is widely used by women to avoid pregnancy; however, these pills might not be effective if-

  • Women are already ovulating or pregnant
  • Pills are taken 5 days after having sex
  • There is interaction with other medications
  • Person vomit within 3hrs after taking the pill
  • Allergic to any of its ingredient

Side Effects Of Morning After Pill

Morning after pill can cause aftereffects in some individuals, which usually last for a few days. These include-

  • Vomiting, nausea, or headache – it is usually observed in combined oral contraceptives than in levonorgestrel or ulipristal acetate.
  • Change in menstrual bleeding – After pill intake, menstruation is observed within a week of the expected time; however, in some women, irregular bleeding or spotting is observed within a week or month after taking the pill.
  • Other – Short-term adverse effects include fatigue, abdominal pain, breast tenderness, and dizziness.

Morning-after pill shows no serious side effects; however, if vomiting is observed within 3hrs of taking the pill, consult the healthcare professional.

Where Should I Get Morning-After Pill?

Some emergency contraceptives are readily available over-the-counter (OTC) without any prescription in all local pharmacies, irrespective of age.

These pills can also be taken from an online service provider or healthcare professionals.

Can I Use Two Emergency Contraceptives At The Same Time?

Do not use two contraceptives together as they might reduce the effect of each other and end up not preventing pregnancy.

Are Morning-After Pills Safe If Used Repeatedly?

Emergency contraceptives are less effective for long-term usage as there might be exposure to a higher level of total hormone, which would result in some or other adverse effects.

Is morning-after pill effective against sexually transmitted disease (STD)?
Morning-after pill does not work against sexually transmitted diseases.
Are there any drugs that reduce the effect of morning-after pill?
Some of the drugs interact with morning-after pills, which results in the reduced effect of the pill. These drugs include antibiotics (sulpha drugs, rifampin), some anticonvulsants, HIV drugs, benzodiazepines and griseofulvin.
Does morning-after pill cause birth defects?
Morning-after pill is safe to use during pregnancy and does not cause any congenital disabilities. Also, it can be taken during breastfeeding without any adverse effects.
Are these pills helpful in protection for future sex?
Morning-after pill only shows its effect for a short time, i.e., 5 days. These pills should be re-administered for the next time sex to avoid pregnancy.


The morning-after pill is an oral emergency contraceptive that helps prevent undesired pregnancy after having sexual intercourse by delaying the ovulation cycle. This pill shows 89% efficacy if taken sooner after sexual activity. It is readily available and shows no severe side effects.