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The Morning After Pill - Get Your Questions Answered!

By HERWriter
 
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Until I needed it myself, I was completely unaware that so many women close to me had used Emergency Contraception or the “morning after pill”. At the time, it was very reassuring to hear my friends’ experiences, and because so many women on the EmpowHER website ask questions regarding EC, I thought I would share my own experience and try to provide some answers to general concerns women have after taking the pill.

My need for EC was the result of a mistake many couples make when using condoms. (Now YOU definitely won’t!) Instead of pulling out after his orgasm, my partner remained inside me and when his erection shrank, the condom fell off. I immediately knew that despite my aversion to unnatural hormones, I had no choice but to use Emergency Contraception. First rule of thumb: when in doubt, just take the pill! It’s much less expensive than an abortion or a baby.

I headed to Walgreens and was quickly helped by a pharmacist who seemed quite used to seeing disheveled young women asking for the drug. Anyone over the age of 17 is now able to acquire EC without a prescription, thanks to the recent work of dedicated women's health activists. The brand of EC I received was called Next Choice, an option that contains 2 doses of Levonorgestrel (a hormone commonly used in birth control pills), to be taken 12 hours apart. Another common brand is the Plan B One-Step, consisting of only one pill.

Sitting in the parking lot, I carefully read all the directions on the Next Step package and swallowed the pill. I knew I was well within the time constraints of the pill’s effectiveness (3 days or 72 hours), but because the earlier you take the drug the more effective it will be, I still felt hurried. All day I awaited side effects like dizziness, nausea, or headache, but none came. 12 hours after my first dose, I took the 2nd pill – still feeling just fine.

2 days after I took the pills, I began to feel some cramping. Although it was not yet time in my cycle, I experienced a very light, 3-day period.* Because early stages of pregnancy can also cause similar symptoms, just in case I also took a pregnancy test to confirm. Negative!

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EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hello, I had unprotected sex on Saturday the 10 the around 4:30 to 6 pm , boyfriend told me he pulled out but I did not trust that so I bought the norlevo emergency contraception single intake containing 2 tablets and I drank them at around 5 pm the following day on Sunday. I’m very concerned, my question is should I test for pregnancy?

November 13, 2018 - 5:45am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anon

A pregnancy test is not accurate until at least 10 days after sex. 

Emergency contraceptives are up to 95% effective when taken as prescribed within the first 24 hours and up to 90% effective if taken within 72 hours, so the risk is very small. It works by preventing ovulation and stopping a pregnancy from starting. It is not an abortion pill. It prevents a pregnancy, it does not end one. Side effects can include stomach aches, headaches, dizziness, breast pain, nausea and a general feeling of being unwell.  Some women can bleed a little or quite extensively after taking emergency contraception. Some women experience few to no side-effects. Side effects, of lack of, are not an indication one way or another whether the medication will work.

The more frequently they are taken, the more likely a woman is  to have side effects and an irregular cycle. They should be taken only for emergencies, not used as a method of birth control.

Side effects usually start 2-7 days after taking the medication and may or may not include bleeding or spotting. Not all women get symptoms. Some get many, or a few, or none. If a woman doesn’t get her next period within a week of it’s expected date, a pregnancy test may be necessary although the risk is very low. Periods can often be delayed or longer/shorter as a result of taking emergency contraception.  We cannot predict this for our readers in terms of length of delays. Each woman is different. Periods should get back to normal by the second cycle after.

Best,

 

Susan

November 13, 2018 - 3:50pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hi . My boyfriend and I had sex on 1st of October and the condom spills out but he didn’t come inside me it’s only on the outside of my V. I immediately took a morning after pill Postella 1 and my usual period is every 20 or 25 date , what chances could I have? would I be pregnant or not?

October 4, 2018 - 8:00pm
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hi Anon

Thank you for your post!

Emergency contraceptives are up to 95% effective when taken as prescribed within the first 24 hours and up to 90% effective if taken within 72 hours, so the risk is very small. It works by preventing ovulation and stopping a pregnancy from starting. It is not an abortion pill. It prevents a pregnancy, it does not end one. Side effects can include stomach aches, headaches, dizziness, breast pain, nausea and a general feeling of being unwell.  Some women can bleed a little or quite extensively after taking emergency contraception.

The more frequently they are taken, the more likely a woman is  to have side effects and an irregular cycle. They should be taken only for emergencies, not used as a method of birth control.

Side effects usually start 2-7 days after taking the medication and may or may not include bleeding or spotting. Not all women get symptoms. Some get many, or a few, or none. If a woman doesn’t get her next period within a week of it’s expected date, a pregnancy test may be necessary although the risk is very low. Periods can often be delayed or longer/shorter as a result of taking emergency contraception.  We cannot predict this for our readers in terms of length of delays. Each woman is different. Periods should get back to normal by the second cycle after.

Best,

Susan


October 5, 2018 - 4:27am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hi, my boyfriend and I were close to having sex (with a condom) on 3rd of May (Thursday), but I was afraid some of his precum might have been on my hands and I fingered myself at the time. So as it is an emergency, I took an EC pill 4 hours later. I experienced nausea, bloating and slight cramping 1-2 days after taking the pill. Then, on the 14th of May (Monday) I started to bleed rather little so I assumed I was spotting. Then the next day, I started to bleed more, and the color of the blood was red, instead of the red/brown from the spotting I had previously. I bled for about 4 days.
However, now I’m not sure if what I had was period or just bleeding because of the pill. Can I be pregnant?

May 18, 2018 - 6:39am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Am on a doubt if the Withdrawer method I used is perfect, pls can I take postinor 2 to ensure safe. Thanks

October 24, 2017 - 7:15am
HERWriter Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anon

No method of birth control is perfect. Take EC if you feel it's necessary.

Susan

October 24, 2017 - 2:12pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hello.

I had protected sex on 20th September (my boyfriend used condoms) and I took a morning after pill on the 22nd just in case. I had another protected sex on the 23rd September and I started to get spotting on 27th up until 30th. I started to bleed on the 1st of October until 6th, so I believe this might be because of the pill and that I'm safe. However, we had another protected sex on the 2nd and 6th, during my period. He still used condoms and he didn't ejaculate inside of me. But I'm wondering should I take another morning after pill just in case? Because I'm worried that it might messes up my cycle and that I heard that it can't be taken more than twice in a month.

Please help. Thank you.

October 7, 2017 - 10:17pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hello,
I had unprotected sex on the 27th of August, I was prescribed Ella by my doctor on the 29th and took it. I've been having some terrible cramps, back pain, and sore breasts. I've had mono and a couple hours after taking Ella I spit up some phelgm, I didn't throw up just spit out some phelgm, would that effect how Ella works? I'm supposed to get my period tomorrow but feeling doubtful that it's going to come. I'm super worried, I'm a college student and can't afford an abortion.

September 10, 2017 - 10:57pm
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

Hi, I had unprotected sex exactly 15 days after my periods. That means I have already ovulated, right? And I took POSTINOR after about one hour after having sex. Will that be effective, If I have already ovulated by that time? Will I get pregnant?

July 25, 2017 - 5:45pm
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.