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The Morning After Pill*

Emergency contraception is provided in two ways:

  • using increased doses of certain oral contraceptive pills within 72 hours
  • insertion of a copper intrauterine device (IUD) within five to seven days.
The Morning After Pill*

*This is not a form of contraception. For information on the common contraceptive pill click here.

The Morning After Pill can be taken:

  • after unprotected intercourse
  • if the usual method of contraception has failed

Treatment consists of four pills

  • two taken immediately available
  • two more taken twelve hours after the initial dosage containing a high dosage of the synthetic hormones estrogen and/or progestogen which stops an egg from being released and prevents implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus.

One of the newer Morning After Pill, Levonelle-2, contains only one hormone, a progestogen, and is said to be more effective and with less nausea, and side effects.

Treatment consists of two pills

  • one taken immediately later by a second.
  • One pill taken exactly 12 hours after the first pill

The Morning After Pill’s effectiveness is lessened by:

  • certain medications (consult your doctor regarding which ones)
  • diarrhea
  • vomiting

and and are less likely to work if:

  • you take it over seventy-two hours after unprotected sex
  • you have unprotected sex after taking them
  • you forget to take the second set of pills
  • you vomit within two hours of taking the tablets (extra pills, plus something to stop you vomiting may be given)

It prevents about:

  • 95% of pregnancies developing if it is taken within 24 hours after unprotected sex
  • 85% of pregnancies developing if taken within 24-48 hours after unprotected sex
  • 5% of pregnancies developing if taken within 48-72 hours after unprotected sex

The Morning After Pill is designed solely for emergency use and is not a method of contraception.

high effectiveness rate if used within the recommended time periodSide effects*
women who are advised against using birth control pills should not use the morning after pill
if pregnancy does occur the hormones may adversely affect the fetus

*Side effects include:

  • breast tenderness
  • diarrhea
  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • nausea
  • tiredness
  • vomiting

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