What are the dangers of the morning after pill?


What are the dangers of the morning after pill? 

The morning after pill is taken to prevent unwanted pregnancy after unprotected sex and it is the most common form of emergency contraception, and is also known as the emergency contraceptive pill.

Most women can use the morning after pill including those who can't use hormonal contraception, such as the combined pill and contraceptive patch. Girls under 16 years old can also use it as and when needed.

But it may not be taken if someone is allergic to anything in it or has severe asthma or takes any medicines that may interact with it. 

Who can use the morning after pill? 

Any women can use morning after pill after having unprotected sex or in case of contraceptive failure. If someone's allergic to the ingredients used in it and asthma patients are advised not to take it. It is safe to take while breastfeeding. Although small amounts of the hormones in the pill may pass into the breast milk, it is not harmful to the baby. 

How does the morning after pill work?

Morning after pill contains either levonorgestrel, a synthetic (man-made) version of the natural hormone progesterone produced by the ovaries or ulipristal acetate. Taking it stops or delays the release of an egg (ovulation).

It has to be taken within 72 hours (3 days) to 120 hours (5 days) of sex to prevent pregnancy. It doesn't interfere with any women's regular method of contraception.

What are the side effects of the morning after pill?

There are no serious side effects of morning after pill, but some women may experience:

  • Stomach ache

  • Nausea

  • Tiredness

  • Headache

  • Irregular menstrual bleeding

You should consult a doctor or nurse if your symptoms don't go away after a few days or if:

  • you think you might be pregnant

  • your next period is more than 7 days late

  • your period is shorter or lighter than usual

  • you have sudden pain in your lower tummy – in rare cases, a fertilised egg may have implanted outside the womb (ectopic pregnancy)

Can the morning after pill be taken in advance?

You can get the morning after pill in advance of having unprotected sex if:

  • you're worried about your contraceptive method failing

  • you're going on holiday

  • you can't get hold of emergency contraception easily

See a doctor or nurse for further advice on getting advance emergency contraception. You can also talk to them about your options for regular methods of contraception.

How effective is the morning after pill?

No morning after pill is 100% effective. Research on Levonorgestrel found that:

  • When taken within 24 hours, it can be 95% effective

  • When taken within 48 hours, it can be 85% effective

  • When taken within 72 hours, it can be 58% effective

Vomiting within a few hours of taking either pill could affect the ability of the pill to prevent pregnancy, as your body may not absorb the entire dose. 

Does the morning after pill affect fertility?

No, there is no evidence that taking the morning after pill, even multiple times, will affect fertility in the future or make you infertile.

Does the morning after pill cause an abortion?

No, the morning after pill does not cause any kind of abortion. They primarily work by preventing or delaying ovulation and fertilisation in the first place.

The two types of morning after pill —

levonorgestrel is a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone, which prevents ovulation, and ellaOne contains ulipristal acetate which stops progesterone working normally, preventing or delaying ovulation. Both pills can also cause changes in the lining of your womb which make it difficult for an egg to implant. 

Does the morning after pill protect against STIs?

Neither Levonorgestrel nor ellaOne protect against sexually transmitted infections like chlamydia, gonorrhoea and herpes. If you think you may have picked up an STI, you should get tested even if you don’t have any symptoms. Ask your doctor or local sexual health clinic about this. 

Where can I get the morning after pill?

Any gynaecologist or family planning clinic can prescribe the morning after pill, and you can buy Levonorgestrel over the counter at a pharmacy. Levonorgestrel and ellaOne both can also be bought online.

What are the contraception services in India ?

If you're aged 16 or over, you may buy the emergency contraceptive pill from most pharmacies, in person or online,

Contraception services are free and confidential.

If you're under 16 and want contraception, the doctor, nurse or pharmacist won't tell your parents as long as they believe you fully understand the information you're given, and the decisions you're making.

Doctors and nurses work under strict guidelines when dealing with people under 16. They will encourage you to consider telling your parents, but they won't make you.

The only time a professional might want to tell someone else is if they believe you are at risk of harm, such as abuse. The risk would need to be serious, and they will usually discuss this with you first.


Morning after pill is safe to use with some slight side effects. They don't affect your fertility or cause problems in your future pregnancy. They are emergency pills and must be taken only during emergencies like after unprotected intercourse or failed contraception. It must be taken within 72 hours to 120 hours of having unprotected sex. It cannot protect you against STIs, it could be used more than once in a reproductive cycle but it is not advised to use as it is not 100% effective. 




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