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Morning-After Pill: Things to Know Before Using

Written by
Dr. Prabha Ranjan
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Feb 10, 2018 and last reviewed on Sep 07, 2018   -  2 min read


Morning-after pills (emergency contraceptive pills) are hormonal methods of preventing pregnancy after intercourse has happened. It has to be taken within 72 hours of having unprotected intercourse, or if you missed taking the regular contraceptive pill or faced an issue of condom break. Read on to know more.

Morning-After Pill: Things to Know Before Using

The morning-after pill is usually meant for emergency situations like unplanned sex, condom break or sexual assault to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. It is not to be used as the regular method of contraception. Frequent use comes with its own side-effects. So, its repeated use in a single menstrual cycle should be avoided.

In the true sense, emergency contraception is not meant for contraception. Rather it is interception. That means it prevents the pregnancy which may happen by interrupting the pregnancy process whereas contraception does not allow the pregnancy to happen by preventing the fertilization process itself.

In case of sexually active women, there are other suitable methods of regular contraception which they can opt for as emergency contraception is not an alternative to regular contraception. Regular contraception methods (birth-control pills) have beneficial health effects too in the long run along with contraception action. So, they are preferable to morning-after pills.

The barrier method (condoms) also prevent transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. Emergency contraception has neither of these benefits and if taken repeatedly may harm the normal hormonal rhythm and menstrual pattern of a woman.

  1. EC pills contain Levonorgestrel 1.5 mg either in a single tablet or in two tablets.
  2. It has to be taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse for best results. It is a very effective medicine if taken within the scheduled time period.
  3. If the subject vomits within half an hour of its intake the same dose has to be repeated. If not, no need to repeat the dose.
  4. It is available in the market under various trade names and is easily available over-the-counter.
  5. After taking the pill, if the person still misses her period, she should take a pregnancy test as early as possible to detect unplanned pregnancy.
  6. The side effects are not very severe. Common side effects are nausea, vomiting, light-headedness, breast tenderness and menstrual irregularities.
  7. Menstrual irregularities after EC pill is very common and it may happen in any form like early period, delayed period or irregular period. Repeated doses of EC pill causes more menstrual irregularities. So it should be taken only in emergency situations and misuse and repeated doses should be avoided.

If pregnancy is not in the plan, a regular method of contraception should always be opted for first and the use of emergency contraception should be reserved for real 'emergencies'. The other methods of emergency contraception are high doses of oral combined contraceptive pills and intrauterine contraceptive device.

For more information consult an emergency contraception and family planning specialist online -->


Last reviewed at:
07 Sep 2018  -  2 min read




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