Even if a contraceptive fails, the morning-after pill can prevent an unwanted pregnancy. However, the drug can have side effects and should therefore only be taken in exceptional cases.
It is not just unprotected sex that can lead to an unwanted pregnancy. If a condom bursts or the pill is taken too late, contraception may fail. However, the morning-after pill can still prevent pregnancy.
How does the morning-after pill work?
The morning-after pill cannot reverse an existing pregnancy, but only prevents the egg cell from maturing and implantation. This is done by the hormone levonorgestrel. If ovulation has already taken place, pregnancy can still be possible – namely if the unprotected sex takes place immediately after ovulation. Since sperm can survive in the fallopian tube for up to a week, the morning-after pill should be taken as soon as possible after the mishap. If you take the morning-after pill within the following 24 hours, there is a 95 percent protection against an unwanted pregnancy.
Side effects of the morning after pill
Even if the morning-after pill is usually well tolerated by healthy women, side effects can occur. Headache, nausea, dizziness, abdominal pain or light bleeding may occur after taking the morning-after pill. If the symptoms persist or worsen, you should definitely consult a doctor. Since the morning-after pill contains a high dose of hormones, your cycle may be shifted in the month after you take it. Particular caution is required if another disease is present, such as liver damage. The doctor treating you must be informed about such diseases in order to be able to weigh up the risks.