The morning after pill

Everything You Need to Know About the Morning-After Pill

Have you had unprotected sex and are unsure if you’ve fallen pregnant? If you act quickly, you can prevent pregnancy by using emergency contraception. However, it’s essential that you read this article before rushing off to get it. Here’s what you need to know about the morning-after pill and how this contraception pills work.

What is the morning-after pill?

The morning after pill is a form of emergency contraception that prevents pregnancy after unprotected sex. It’s safe and effective, but it shouldn’t be your go-to contraceptive method.

Vital information

  • The morning-after pill needs to be taken within 72 hours (3 days) after sex.
  • Please don’t get confused: the morning-after pill is not the abortion pill. The pill prevents pregnancy from occurring; the abortion pill terminates the pregnancy.

How the morning-after contraception pill works

The morning-after pill contains a hormone called Levonorgestrel which inhibits an egg being released during a menstrual cycle. It also changes the lining of the uterus stopping attachment of a fertilised egg.

Is emergency contraception safe?

Yes, they are safe. According to Dr James Trussell, a faculty associate at Princeton University and researcher in the area of reproductive health, ‘These are extraordinarily safe drugs. […] the benefits of being able to prevent pregnancy after sex outweigh any possible risks of taking the pills.’

Are there any side effects?

The morning-after pill may cause the following symptoms:

  • Nausea or vomiting. Please note that if you vomit within two hours of taking the pill, it won’t be effective, and you’ll need to take another one
  • Changes in your period. It may be earlier or later, or heavier or lighter than usual
  • Breast tenderness, dizziness or headaches.

How often can I use emergency contraception?

Emergency contraception is safe to use; however, it’s crucial to remember that it does not protect against HIV/AIDS and STIs – condoms are the only form of contraception that prevents the transference of these diseases.

Furthermore, emergency contraception is not as effective as regular contraception. Repeated use may also cause your periods to become inconsistent.

In conclusion, emergency contraception is available to you, but it should be used regularly. Instead, use regular contraceptive methods.

How often can I use emergency contraception?

As mentioned above, emergency contraception is safe to use; however, it’s essential to remember that it does not protect against HIV/AIDS, other STIs and it is not as effective as regular contraception. Frequent use may also cause your periods to become irregular.

Source: Marie Stopes South Africa (Safe Abortion and Post Abortion Family Planning)

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