What is the morning after pill?If you’ve had unprotected sex, you might have some questions. Did he have an STD? Could I be pregnant? What if…? Should I take a “Morning After” pill?

The morning-after pill is a type of emergency contraception.

Emergency contraception is used to prevent pregnancy for women who’ve had unprotected sex or whose birth control method has failed. It is a drug to be taken as soon as possible within the first 72 hours (no more than 3 days) after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy.

The morning-after pill is intended to be used as backup contraception only, not as a primary method of birth control. Morning-after pills contain either levonorgestrel (Plan B® One-Step®, Aftera®, and others) or ulipristal acetate (Ella®).

How does the morning after pill work?

Morning-after pills do not end a pregnancy that has already implanted. They work primarily by delaying or preventing ovulation.

Keep in mind that the morning-after pill is NOT the same as mifepristone (Mifeprex®), also known as RU-486 or the abortion pill. That drug terminates an established pregnancy—one in which the fertilized egg has attached to the uterine wall and has begun to develop.

More about the abortion pill

Stuff You Should Know:

  • The morning-after pill does not prevent any type of STD.
  • It is highly recommended that women who have been sexually active take a pregnancy test before taking the morning-after pill. (This may sound a little backward, but think about it … if you accidentally became pregnant last week, taking a morning-after pill would not be effective.)
  • The morning-after pill is not recommended for routine or repeated use. 
  • Taking the morning-after pill will interrupt or alter your normal menstrual cycle (your period).
  • The morning-after pill can fail even with correct use.

IMPORTANT NOTE:  You should expect some cramping and pain after taking this medication. But these symptoms could mask other potential issues such as ectopic pregnancy which can be life threatening if not treated. The morning-after pill will not end an ectopic pregnancy. Women with cramping and pain should be evaluated for ectopic pregnancy. 

Potential side effects of the morning-after pill

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Breast tenderness
  • Bleeding between periods or heavier menstrual bleeding
  • Lower abdominal pain or cramps

The Bottom Line

  • Slow down and allow yourself to make an informed decision.
  • Call us today to make an appointment, get tested for pregnancy and STIs and put your mind at ease.
  • Choose to know all the information you need about all of your options. It’s your health.

Remember, we are here for YOU. No cost. No judgment—just honest answers and accurate information.

Contact us at 717.394.1561 (option 1) or send us a confidential message to schedule a confidential appointment with our skilled and compassionate medical team.

This information is presented as an informational tool only. It is not intended to replace medical advice or care from a qualified medical provider.

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