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What are the side effects of the morning after pill?

Dr Louisa Draper

"The "morning after pill" can disrupt your periods. Your next period may be heavier or lighter and it may come earlier or later than expected."

Dr Louisa Draper

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Like most medications, the morning after pill can cause side effects in some women. Whether you have just taken the morning after pill or are going to use it in the future, it is good if you know what to look out for.

Myths and Facts

Myth: The morning after pill is dangerous.

Fact: Like all other medication, the morning after pill was tested in extensive clinical trials. It does not affect your fertility in the long run and has not been found to have a lasting effect on your body. However, you should not take it on a regular basis, it is for emergencies only.

Myth: Taking the morning after pill is like having an abortion.

Fact: The morning after pill does not cause an abortion and it won’t work if you are already pregnant. Like the normal contraceptive pill, the morning after pill prevents the egg from implanting in the womb, thus preventing pregnancy instead of terminating it. However, in the case of EllaOne, it is not known what the effect on a foetus might be so you should not take it if there is any chance that you may already be pregnant.

Myth: The morning after pill is as effective as the contraceptive pill.

Fact: While emergency contraceptive pills drastically reduce your risk of getting pregnant after unprotected sex, they are less effective than regular methods of contraception such as the pill and the condom. You should always use protection when you have sex and use the morning after pill in emergencies only.

Myth: Taking the morning after pill means I am protected for several days.

Fact: The morning after pill prevents pregnancy after an episode of unprotected sex but it does not provide any protection during the following days. You need to use contraception the next time you have sex.