How Effective is the Morning After Pill?

Both Levonelle and ellaOne are considered to be 95% effective 12 hours after unprotected sex. After 48 hours, the effectiveness of Levonelle is reduced to 58%. However ellaOne, is up to 95% effective up to 120 hours after intercourse. So if it has been over 12 hours since the unprotected sex, ellaOne may be more effective. As neither of these methods is 100% effective, it is advised that you use contraceptives, such as condoms or the pill, to prevent pregnancy.

What may affect the effectiveness of the morning after pill?

The statistics for the effectiveness of the morning after pill primarily only applies to relatively healthy women aged between 18 and 49 years old. Overweight women, may also find that the morning after pill is less effective.  It also applies to people who are using the pill according to the instructions given them by their doctor or pharmacist or the instructions that are listed on the drug’s packaging. Once you veer from those instructions, your results may be less satisfactory. There may also be medical conditions you have or medications you are taking that may interfere with the mechanism of this drug. If that is the case, then the normal effectiveness rating won’t hold true in your situation.

What to Do to Ensure Effectiveness

If you want to make certain that the morning after pill works well for you, then you should be aware of its limitations. It may not work during certain parts of your menstrual cycle. Talk to your doctor about when to use the pill and how it may interfere with your cycle.

You should also try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Ensuring that you maintain a healthy weight will help the morning after pill to work effectively. If your hormones are battling with obesity or a lack of nutrients in the body, then they won’t be able to function the way they are supposed to. That means that the morning after pill may not have the desired effects.

The sooner you take the morning after pill, the more effective it will be. This gives it time to work and ensures that it can get out ahead of the egg releasing from your body. If your body releases an egg before you take the pill, then your chances of becoming pregnant are far greater.

If you take the pill and then vomit shortly afterwards, it is likely that your body had an adverse reaction to it. You also probably expelled much of it, so you will need to take another contraceptive pill or have an IUD inserted. If you do vomit after taking the morning after pill, you should let your doctor know. Your reaction to this drug can limit what contraceptive methods are available to you, but by sharing that information with your doctor, you can ensure that you receive a more suitable pill.

How quickly do I need to take the morning after pill?

Emergency contraceptives should be taken as soon as possible for the best results. Levonelle can be taken up to 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex and ellaOne can be taken up to 120 hours (5 days) after. 

How to tell if the morning after pill is not effective?

The morning after pill is not an abortive drug. Therefore, it won’t work if an egg has already been fertilised. After intercourse, over the following days and weeks, it is a good idea to look for signs of a pregnancy, even if you have already taken the morning after pill in accordance with your doctor’s or pharmacist’s instructions. If you miss a period, you should consider taking a pregnancy test in the days and weeks following intercourse. By being prepared and knowing about a pregnancy early, you can have a plan of action in place and figure out how you wish to proceed.

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