Are There Side Effects of the Morning-After Pill?

Are There Side Effects of the Morning-After Pill?

Are There Side Effects of the Morning-After Pill?

You’ve heard about the morning-after pill, but you haven’t been in a position to consider taking it before. But here you are, and you have questions. 

It’s natural and wise to ask questions before taking medication, and you’re asking yourself if the morning-after pill is safe and if there are side effects of the morning-after pill. 

Are the Morning-After Pill and Abortion Pill Different? 

Yes, women take the morning-after pill and the abortion pill for different reasons. Women take a morning-after pill within 72 hours after unprotected sex or after their method of contraception failed. Women take abortion pills to end pregnancies that are already confirmed. 

Most Common Morning-After Pills 

The most common morning-after pills are: 

Levonorgestrel (Plan B One Step® and generic) 

Levonorgestrel contains higher levels of the synthetic version of the hormone, progestin, to prevent pregnancy. You can take it up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, but it is more effective the sooner you take it. 

Levonorgestrel is available without a prescription or age restriction. You can get it over the counter, but many times it is located behind the counter, and you will need to ask a pharmacist to assist you. 

Ulipristal acetate (ella®) 

Ulipristal acetate suppresses the progestin hormone, which prevents ovulation. You can take Ulipristal up to five days after unprotected sex.  

You will need a doctor’s prescription for Ulipristal.  

How the Morning-After Pill Works 

There are three ways the morning-after pill works

1. It prevents ovulation.

2. It prevents fertilization.

3. It prevents a fertilized egg from implanting into the uterus. This is an important consideration if you have a personal or religious conviction against this.

Studies suggest that morning-after pills may be less effective if you’re overweight or have a BMI of over 30. Medications can also affect how the morning-after pill works. 

Keep in mind that the morning-after pill doesn’t prevent sexually transmitted infections.  

Are There Side Effects of the Morning-After Pill? 

Yes, the morning-after pill does have side effects. Some are mild, and some are potentially severe. It’s important to contact a medical professional if you experience severe side effects or side effects that worsen or don’t go away. 

Morning-after pill side effects include: 

  • Dizziness 
  • Nausea/Vomiting 
  • Breast Tenderness 
  • Abdominal Pain 
  • Headache 
  • Changes in vaginal bleeding 
  • Fatigue 

Serious side effects that need immediate medical attention: 

  • Severe abdominal pain 3-5 weeks after you take Levonorgestrel. This pain could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy, which is a medical emergency. 
  • Allergic reaction after taking Levonorgestrel is also a medical emergency. Signs include itching, rash, swelling of face/tongue/throat, and trouble breathing. 

If your period doesn’t start within three weeks, take a pregnancy test to make sure you’re not pregnant.  

You Deserve Accurate Information 

At Thrive St. Louis, we understand how important it is to receive accurate and unbiased information when you’re making decisions about your reproductive health. Make a no-cost, confidential appointment with us today.