There are plenty of contraception options available for those who are able to become pregnant, but you know what they say about the best laid plans! Things rarely work 100% to plan when it comes to getting laid. Thankfully, whether your barrier contraception has failed or otherwise, there is emergency contraception available in many parts of the world. Commonly called ‘the morning after pill’ or ‘Plan B,’ here’s exactly what it is, and how it works.
What is the Morning Pill?
The morning after pill, as many people know it, is a method of emergency contraception meant for after unprotected sex or after another form of contraception has failed. Most nowadays are a single pill, and available over the counter in many parts of the world.
Though there are a few different brands that may work slightly differently, morning after pills generally work by introducing hormones that prevent or delay the release of an egg. Therefore, if sperm is present, there is no egg for it to fertilize.
And what Isn’t It?
Because the morning after pill prevents fertilization from happening, it is not the same as an abortion. Abortion through chemical means (versus surgical) is a different thing entirely, and requires a doctor’s visit.
Things to Keep in Mind
The morning after pill needs to be taken within 3 days to be effective, and it is most effective within the first 24 hours. According to Planned Parenthood, when taken within three days, emergency contraception such as this will reduce your likelihood of becoming pregnant by 75-89%. Side effects may include abdominal or stomach pain, tiredness, dizziness, changes to your menstrual cycle and nausea or vomiting. If you vomit within 2 hours of taking the medication, you will have to take it again as it will not be effective.
There are some medication interactions that can make this type of emergency contraception unsuitable, so make sure to tell the pharmacist what medication you’re on. As well, most morning after pills are less effective if you weigh more than 175 lbs (79 kg). While it might only slightly decrease efficacy, it helps to talk to your doctor about other options, such as a copper IUD in the event of needing emergency contraception.