The morning-after pill is a form of emergency contraception. Emergency contraception is any type of birth control used after unprotected sex or if contraceptive failure such as, a broken condom to attempt to prevent pregnancy. The morning-after pill, also known as Plan B, is the most commonly used emergency contraceptive. The morning-after pill is not the same as the abortion pill and should not be used to end a pregnancy. It is recommended to be taken within 72 hours of sex.
BEFORE you decide to take the morning-after pill…it is best to get a pregnancy test to determine whether or not you have a viable pregnancy. You can only become pregnant on certain days of the month – around the time that you ovulate. If you have a normal cycle ovulation would occur two weeks after the 1st day of your last cycle, so taking the morning-after pill during a time when you cannot become pregnant needlessly exposes you to large doses of hormones and costs you money.
And if you are already pregnant from an earlier sexual encounter, taking the morning-after pill is of no value and may cause unpleasant side effects.
A good question to ask is, is it safe? Like most medicines, it comes with its share of side effects which should last a day or so, but could last up to two weeks. Plan B side effects can mimic pregnancy symptoms when you aren’t pregnant. But if you have pregnancy symptoms and suspect you might be pregnant despite getting a period, go ahead and take a pregnancy test. Other symptoms include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Breast tenderness
- Bleeding between periods or heavier menstrual bleeding
- Lower abdominal pain or cramps.
If you have taken the morning-after pill and symptoms persist, please seek medical attention.