What is the Morning After Pill? (with picture)

Sarah Sullins
Sarah Sullins
The morning after pill can be taken as an emergency contraceptive without a prescription.
The morning after pill can be taken as an emergency contraceptive without a prescription.

The morning after pill is a type of emergency contraception that can be taken by a woman after she has had sexual intercourse. It consists of high doses of birth control that help to prevent pregnancy. Many times it is used if a woman has had unprotected sex, has been raped, or if she has been the victim of sexual assault. It can also be used if another kind of birth control failed to work, as when a condom breaks during sex.

While this type of emergency birth control is often called the morning after pill, a woman generally has to take more than one pill for it to work. Most doctors agree that the pills work best if taken the day after the woman has had sex, but they can sometimes work when taken later. In general, a woman must take the first pill as soon as possible, and then taken another after a certain number of hours.

There are a couple of different choices regarding the type of steroid hormones that make up this type of contraception for women to consider before taking the morning after pill. Some of the pills contain only progesterone, some contain only estrogen, and others contain both of these steroid hormones. Both types of pills will typically prevent pregnancy the same way.

The first thing that the morning after pill does is try to keep an egg from releasing into a woman’s ovaries. Next, it will make the mucus in the cervix thicker, which may help prevent sperm from making it all the way to a released egg. If an egg has already been fertilized, the pill will attempt to keep the egg from reaching the uterus and implanting.

Most of the time, the morning after pill is able to prevent pregnancy. There are a percentage of women who will still become pregnant after taking this type of emergency contraception. It works best if taken within 24 hours after sexual intercourse. It does not work as well as other types of birth control and should not be substituted for them.

Of the various morning after pills available, many can generally be purchased over-the-counter by women who are over the age of 18. A girl who is under the age of eighteen may buy this type of emergency contraception, but she must get a prescription from her doctor first. The age requirements and restrictions for purchasing the pill may vary by jurisdiction.

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    • The morning after pill can be taken as an emergency contraceptive without a prescription.
      The morning after pill can be taken as an emergency contraceptive without a prescription.