There are lots of myths about the morning after pill but it is not bad for you. You may experience some symptoms such as changes to your period, headaches, nausea or tummy ache - however these are not long term side effects and your menstrual cycle will go back to normal after your first period. Take a look at our complete guide to the morning after pill where we answer every question you could have about emergency contraception!
Can the morning after pill delay your period?
Emergency contraception delays ovulation (the release of an egg fromt he ovaries) and as a result can affect your period, making it later, earlier, heavier, lighter or more painful. It can also cause spotting which can be mistaken for a lighter period. So don't worry - if your period is delayed, it doesn't mean the morning after pill hasn't worked. All changes are temporary and should only affect the first period after taking the pill. You should take a pregnancy test 3 weeks after using emergency contraception
Does the morning after pill work during ovulation?
No, the morning after pill does not work during ovulation. This is because you have already started to release an egg (i.e. to ovulate) so fertilisation could occur, and the hormones in the morning after pill may be ineffective. Always take a pregnancy test three weeks after using the morning after pill to make sure it has worked.
Does bleeding a week after taking the morning after pill mean it's worked?
The morning after pill can cause irregular bleeding or change when your period occurs. Bleeding 1 week later therefore is not an indication it has worked. To check you're not pregnant, you should take a pregnancy test 3 weeks after taking emergency contraception.
Can the morning after pill make you gain weight?
There is no evidence that weight is affected by the morning after pill. However weight gain, or loss, could be impacted by a number of factors that may be related to hormones and the menstrual cycle, such as water retention. Take a look our guide to contraception and weight to find out more.
Can you take the morning after pill while breastfeeding?
You can use the Levonorgestrel morning after pill while you are breastfeeding with no issues. However, don't breastfeed your baby for 1 week after using ellaOne as we are unsure about the safety of breastfeeding with this type of morning after pill. To avoid potential mastitis (an infection of the breast) if you do suddenly stop breastfeeding, you are advised to express your milk to keep comfortable for one week. After 1 week, it is considered safe to breastfeed again after ellaOne has passed out of your body and breastmilk. Under certain circumstances, breastfeeding can actually be used as a method of contraception , but you will need to follow the guidelines for it to be effective.
Where can you buy the morning after pill?
You can buy the morning after pill over the counter from a pharmacy, as well as buying it online. You can order the morning after pill directly from The Lowdown using next day delivery, or even just purchase one for future use! The morning after pill is available for free on the NHS from your GP (if you can get an appointment within the time frame you need to take it) or your local sexual health clinic.
How the Morning after pill works:
The morning after pill is a small tablet that contains the hormone progestogen which delays or stops your ovaries releasing an egg. It is only effective if it's taken BEFORE you've ovulated. If you're past ovulation in your cycle, you could get pregnant, so be sure to take a pregnancy test 3 weeks after.
How to use the Morning after pill:
The morning after pill is not used as a regular form of contraception and should only be taken after unprotected sex or if your usual contraceptive method has failed, for example, if a condom breaks or you forget to take your pill. You need to take an emergency contraceptive pill within 3 days (or 5 days if taking ellaOne ) of unprotected sex - the sooner you take it, the more effective it will be. If you need to, you can take it more than once in a menstrual cycle.
How safe is the Morning after pill:
The morning after pill is very safe to take and there are no serious or long term side effects from taking it. It's important to remember that it does not protect you from STIs.