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The morning after pill should never be relied upon as a regular form of contraception, but can be a solution for women who had unprotected sex, or for women who had protected sex that went wrong (the condom broke). What do you need to know about taking the morning after pill?

What is the morning after pill?

The morning after pill is a form of contraception that can be used following unprotected sex or sex gone wrong. To be effective, the morning after pill can be taken up to 72 hours following unprotected intercourse, in the way described on the package insert. The morning after pill does not prevent fertilization of an egg, but it does (or at least, aims to it's not always effective) prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg into the uterus, thereby creating a pregnancy. Some people see the morning after pill as a very early form of abortion.

How does the morning after pill work?

As we said, a morning after pill can't prevent the fertilization of an egg that was already fertilized (obviously!). It does contain hormones that will prevent ovulation, which would be relevant to you if you had sex in the days before ovulation. It also makes the uterus unfavorable for the implantation of fertilized eggs.

Where do you get the morning after pill?

Depending on where you live, you may have several options. If you are over 16 and living in the United States, you will be able to obtain a morning after pill without prescription, over the counter. Some countries prescribe the morning after pill through a doctor. You can also go to a family planning clinic.

What else do you need to know?

There is no need to go for a checkup with your doctor the month after using the morning after pill, unless you suspect you may be pregnant anyway, due to a missed period for instance. If you take the morning after pill, closely follow the instructions given by the manufacturer and only use it within the time frame indicated. The morning after pill is not suitable for those who believe that life starts with at conception and do not wish to destroy any potential life that was already created. Emergency contraception does not, of course, protect you against sexually transmitted diseases. You may want to get tested.

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