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Preventing Pregnancy Before It Starts: The Morning After Pill

Preventing Pregnancy Before It Starts:
The Morning After Pill



What is the morning after pill?
How does the morning after pill work?
How reliable is the morning after pill?
How do you take the morning after pill?
What are the side effects of the morning after pill?


What is the morning after pill?
The morning after pill is emergency birth control that you can take after having unprotected sex. You take it if you're afraid that you might get pregnant. The morning after pill is not really a special pill. It's like a birth control pill, but it's a very high dose, and it's taken in a special way. The morning after pill will prevent pregnancy only if you take it within 3 days of having unprotected sexual intercourse. back to top

How does the morning after pill work?
No one knows for sure how the morning after pill works. Some scientists think that the large amount of estrogen in the pill keeps the fertilized egg from attaching to the wall of the uterus. It's also possible that the morning after pill can prevent ovulation just like birth control pills. back to top

How reliable is the morning after pill?
The morning after pill can prevent about 3 out of 4 unplanned pregnancies. That makes it much less reliable than regular birth control. back to top

How do you take the morning after pill?
You have to take the morning after pill within 3 days of unprotected sex. If you take it any later, it won't work. The only way to get the morning after pill is to get a prescription from your health professional. It comes in a kit that contains four pills. You take two pills right away; and take the other two pills 12 hours later. Some pill kits contain a home pregnancy test so you can be sure that you're not pregnant before you take the pills. The morning after pill won't help if you're already pregnant. back to top

What are the side effects of the morning after pill?
Because it contains a lot of estrogen, the morning after pill has several side effects. Here are the most common ones:
  • Most people have some nausea and vomiting. Your health professional can give you some medication to prevent or treat the nausea and vomiting.
  • Many people feel bloated and their hands and feet swell.
  • People who tend to get migraines might get one after taking the morning after pill.
  • Anyone who has high blood pressure or liver problems should not take the morning after pill.
  • If the morning after pill doesn't prevent a pregnancy, it might cause birth defects in the unborn child. There's no proof that this happens, but the possibility is there. back to top
 
 
 
Last Modified Date: 3/16/2001
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