1. What is morning after pill?
Morning after pill is a form of emergency contraception method that is used the prevent pregnancy after sexual intercourse has taken place. You could use it if you had unprotected sexual intercourse or think your contraception may have failed. Hence, it has many usages such as rape and assault cases, accidental breakage or leakage of condom.
2. What does it contain and how does it work?
It actually contains higher dosages of synthetic hormones of oestrogen and progesterone or progesterone only (similar to the ones used in the pill) which help to regulate ovulation and fertility. It prevents pregnancy by several ways:
- Prevents ovulation.
- Thickens the cervical mucus which makes it more difficult for the sperm to enter the uterus and fertililize the egg.
- Changes the lining of the uterus which reduces the chances of implantation of the egg.
It prevents pregnancy but does not cause abortion once pregnancy has occurred.
3. How do you use the morning after pill?
You need to ask your doctor who prescribed the pill as there are many different types of morning after pill. Some contains several pills to be taken within 24 hours whilst others have only one tablet to be taken. You take the morning after pill within 72 hours after the sexual intercourse have taken place in order for it to prevent any unwanted pregnancy. The sooner you take morning after pill the more effective it is.
4. What is the effectiveness of morning after pill to prevent pregnancy?
It reduces the chances of pregnancy by up to 75 – 89% depending on the type of morning after pill you used and how early you took the pill after the sexual intercourse.
5. What are the possible side effects?
- Breast tenderness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Irregular period and abdominal pain
Your next period may come a bit late, earlier or abnormal flow. If you are worried regarding pregnancy you need to go and see your doctor.
6. Could I use it as my regular contraception?
Emergency contraception is not as effective as other types of contraception such as the pill. Hence, is should not be used as replacement of other types of contraception. In addition, in view of the higher dosages contained in the pill there may be unwanted side effects such as irregular menses.
7. Where could I get it?
Ask your doctor. You could get it from your nearest GP clinic. This usually needs a prescription before buying it from the pharmacy.
Family Planning Association www.fpa.org.uk