The morning after pill, contraceptive. Dr. Karine Duffau. mediQuo, your doctor friend. Medical chat

When should I take the morning after pill?

An accident can always happen. For these cases in which we are worrying and burdened, our doctor Karine Duffau explains that there is the morning after pill or emergency contraception, a safe and effective way to avoid pregnancy up to 5 days after having had unprotected sex. Yes! 5 days.

What is the morning after pill?

The morning after pill is an emergency method to prevent pregnancy after having unprotected sex or when the contraceptive method we use regularly has failed.

It is intended to only be a backup contraceptive and should not be used as a contraceptive method of choice. You can resort to it at most 2 to 3 times a year and never in the same menstrual cycle.

The morning after pills contain levonorgestrel or ulipristal acetate. Those that are made up of levonorgestrel are over-the-counter medications while the ulipristal is only sold with your doctor’s prescription.

What is the effectiveness of the pill?

The efficacy in effectively reducing a pregnancy of the day after pills according to the WHO is generally 52 to 94%, and is more effective if taken immediately after intercourse.

Keep in mind that emergency contraceptive pills are not as effective in preventing pregnancy as contraceptive methods used before or during sex, such as monthly contraceptive pills or condoms. You should always opt for these methods as a first option.

Do not take the morning after pill if:

  • You are allergic to any of the components in the pill.
  • You take certain medications that could decrease the effectiveness of the morning after pill, such as barbiturates or St. John’s wort.
  • You know you might be pregnant.

When should you take it?

  • Levonorgestrel compound: take up to 72 hours after sexual intercourse. It should be noted that during breastfeeding is an alternative, provided that its main component is indicated as it does not pose any risk to the health of the baby.
  • Compound of Ulipristal Acetate: Take up to 120 hours after sexual intercourse.

Dr. Karine Duffau recommends not having sex until you start another method of contraception. The morning after pill does not offer lasting protection against pregnancy. If you have unprotected sex in the days after taking the pill, you risk getting pregnant.

What symptoms can present after taking the morning after pill?

  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Sickness
  • Pain in the lower abdomen
  • Increased sensitivity in the breasts
  • Delayed menstruation
  • Exceptionally intense menstruation
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Side effects usually do not occur for more than a couple of days after taking it, and usually resolve within 24 hours.

Do not forget!

The morning after pill, as with all oral contraceptives, does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. The condom is the only contraceptive method that protects most of the STIs.


*Content validated by the mediQuo medical team.

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