If you are worried about becoming pregnant after you’ve had unprotected sex, a morning-after pill can be most handy. The morning after pill is a form of emergency contraception. It can also give you some peace of mind if the condom broke during intercourse.
But the term ‘morning-after’ is quite misleading. You don’t have to wait until the next morning to take the pill. It’s best to take it as early as possible after intercourse, though you may even have up to five days after sex to take the pills, depending on how close you are to ovulating. The earlier you take it, the better the chances of preventing the pregnancy.
The day-after pill, morning-after pills, or emergency contraceptive pills contain the same hormones found in regular daily oral contraceptive pills. There are different types of emergency contraceptive pills. The degree to which it can reduce the chances of getting pregnant depends on the type of emergency contraceptive used and how quickly it was taken after having unprotected sex.
Progestin or levonorgestrel pills:
- can reduce your risk of getting pregnant by 88%
- have less side effects than the other types of morning-after pills
Ulipristal acetate pills:
- has been found to be highly effective
- available by prescription only in the United States
- can be taken up to 5 days after the intercourse
- sold as ella in the United States and as ellaOne in Europe
Progestin and estrogen combined:
- combine both progestin and estrogen
- cut your chances of getting pregnant by 75%
- can cause side effects such as nausea and vomiting
- highly effective emergency contraceptive pill
- few side-effects
- currently available only in Armenia, Russia, China and Vietnam
- can be inserted by a health care provider up to five days after sex to prevent pregnancy
- said to be much more effective than other types of emergency contraceptive pills because it reduces your risk of getting pregnant by more than 99%
Many people believe that the morning after pill is a form of abortion. It is actually more about prevention, rather than abortion, but if ovulation has taken place, some types of morning after pills can abort the embryo before it gets implanted in the uterus.
Morning after pills have three modes of action:
1. Ovulation is delayed by altering the normal menstrual cycle.
2. Ovulation is inhibited; the egg is prevented from being released from the ovary.
3. The lining of the uterus is made unreceptive to the egg.
The female egg is released during ovulation. The union of the egg and the male sperm occurs in the fallopian tube and it then travels to the uterus for implantation. if the emergency contraception is consumed after fertilization has taken place, an unreceptive uterus rejects the embryo, making implantation impossible and resulting in a chemical abortion.
Several different brands of emergency contraceptive pills or morning after pills are available in pharmacies across the United States.
Anyone can buy progestin-only pills without having to show an ID. There are several popular brands of this medicine such as Look for Plan B One-Step, Take Action, Next Choice One-Dose and My Way. They usually cost about $50, while the generic ones are around $40. You can find these on the shelves in the family planning aisle. If you want to stock up for an emergency, a generic form of Plan B One-Step can be purchased online for $20 with additional shipping charges.
The Ulipristal acetate pill Ella is sold by prescription only, irrespective of age. Even if you have a prescription, it is best to call the pharmacy first to ensure it is in stock. If you want insurance for purchasing morning after pills, you can ask the pharmacy counter for help. Ella can be ordered online with next-day shipping for $67.
You can also buy emergency contraceptive pills from Healthcare providers such as Planned Parenthood and health department clinics.