Morning after pill emergency contraception

what is morning after pill

What is it?

A single pill that can prevent pregnancy after sex. Despite its name, the morning after pill can be taken up to a few days of sex. The two main types are Levonelle and ellaOne so you may hear it being referred to as that.

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How does it work?

Levonelle and ellaOne contain man-made hormones which stop or delay ovulation (the release of an egg) thus preventing an egg meeting sperm and becoming fertilised. Levonelle can be taken up to three days after sex and ellaOne works up to five days after. However, the morning after pill is much more effective if taken within 12 hours.

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An emergency back up if a condom has split, the contraception you have used has failed or you have simply forgotten to use it. It can be used more than once during the same menstrual cycle.

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Possible side effects include vomiting and nausea, stomach ache and changes to your period. Being sick within a few hours of taking it may mean you need another dose. Levonelle and ellaOne are 95% effective up to 12 hours after sex but while ellaOne works just as well for three days, Levonelle is only 58% effective after 48 hours. It doesn't protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Who can use

Who can use it?

Most women, even those who can't use the daily combined pill (simply known as 'the pill'). However, if you have asthma, take medications for heartburn, epilepsy, some antibiotics, St John's Wort or are overweight, seek medical advice first as it may not be for you.

Last updated August 1, 2018