How To Buy The Morning After Pill – Here’s the lowdown on what you really need to know about the morning after pill and emergency contraception, including when it will and won’t work to prevent pregnancy.
The morning after pill can be used to prevent pregnancy hours or days after unprotected sex. Unprotected sex is any sex without birth control, or improperly used, or during birth control. This could be a broken condom or a forgotten pill – if the birth control method doesn’t work or is taken as intended, the morning after pill can help prevent unwanted side effects. pregnancy How long you should take the morning after sex after unprotected sex will depend on the type of pill you are taking. I’ll go into more detail in a moment, but first…
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To understand how the morning after pill works, we must first know what happens during menstruation. We’ve got a good section on this (if we do say so ourselves), which goes over all the stages of your journey. For the purpose of understanding the back-and-forth of the pill, however, we will briefly look at the follicle phase.
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The first day of your period marks the beginning of the first phase of your cycle: the follicle phase. During your period, when estrogen and progesterone levels are low, your follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) rises, causing the follicle (the fluid-filled sac inside your ovary that contains the egg) to grow. When the follicle matures it produces more estrogen which triggers another hormone (stay with us) called luteinising hormone (LH), which tells the follicle to release an egg. Voilà – ovulation!
There are many types of morning after pills on the market today including Levonorgestrel, Ezinelle, Levonelle One Step, and ellaOne. All of these pills contain a synthetic hormone called levonorgestrel, except for ellaOne, which contains ulipristal acetate.
Eggs can be present in a woman’s vagina for up to 5 days after intercourse. If ovulation occurs within 5 days, or earlier, conception may occur and the woman is at risk of pregnancy.
Surprisingly, scientists cannot fully understand how levonorgestrel works. But we do know that they delay ovulation, which means that all the eggs in the body can die before the egg has a chance to be fertilized.
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On the other hand, the action of ulipristal acipate is clear: it stops the normal action of progesterone and prevents the rise of LH (the one that tells the hormone to release its egg), thereby delaying ovulation. Like levonorgestrel, the egg is released later, giving the egg time to rest before the egg arrives!
It is important to mention that the morning after pill is not an abortion pill, of course; Without the egg, pregnancy cannot occur. Some studies of the effectiveness of emergency contraception suggest that the pill may affect the egg after conception. However, a court review in 2002 concluded that the pregnancy was initiated by implantation (where the egg is implanted and attaches to the uterus). All types of birth control are urgently needed before implantation rather than stopping implantation.
This is really, really important, and it’s something that very few women know. We explained earlier that the morning after pill stops the menstrual cycle and causes the egg to be released later than normal. If those eggs are released during intercourse, however, the morning after pill may not help. Usually, if you ovulate or have a baby, the morning after pill doesn’t work and you can get pregnant. That’s why it’s important to take a pregnancy test 3 weeks after taking the morning after pill.
If you remember, though, there is some debate in the scientific community about the effects of the morning after pill. So you may want to take the morning after pill, even if you think you’ve already ovulated. Although the consensus seems to be that the primary action is to delay the release of eggs.
Morning After Pill
Studies have shown that levonorgestrel in the morning after pill is less likely to work in women with a BMI of 26 or more, or if you weigh more than 70kg (even with a normal BMI). Also ellaOne may not be effective if you have a BMI above 30 or weigh more than 85kg. Doubling the dose of levonorgestrel has been suggested to increase potency, but other studies show that this does not make a difference. Contraception guidelines in the UK recommend that women with a BMI of 26 or more or a weight of more than 70 kg (and copper pills are not suitable) should be given ellaOne, or twice the morning after pill of levonorgestrel. This is something you can discuss with your doctor or pharmacist.
Levonorgestrel, Ezinelle and Levonelle One step should be taken within 72 hours (three days) of unprotected sex. ellaOne can be taken up to 120 hours (five days) after unprotected sex.
Sex is considered unprotected not only if birth control is not used, but also if the birth control method you are using has failed (such as a broken condom or missing pills).
The morning after pill should work almost immediately to delay ovulation. It’s important not to use the morning after pill as a preventative measure – that is, if you don’t think you’re safe to have unprotected sex after taking it. Eggs can stay in your body for several days, so having unprotected sex again after taking it can lead to pregnancy. You will need to reconsider emergency contraception in all other cases of unprotected sex.
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The earlier you take the pill, the better your chances of getting pregnant. Remember that current advice says that the pill should be taken before ovulation, so after taking it you are more likely to ovulate and the pill is less likely to work.
Researchers looked at all the evidence surrounding the morning-after pill and found ellaOne to be more effective at preventing pregnancy than the levonorgestrel pill. They found that 1-2% of women will get pregnant after using ellaOne, compared to 0.6-2.6% of women who take another morning after pill.
However, if you really don’t want to get pregnant, less than 0.1% of women get pregnant after copper is inserted as a birth control pill.
As we mentioned before, morning after pill performance can be reduced if you have a high BMI. This is something to consider when discussing your options with your healthcare provider
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If you ejaculate within two hours of taking levonorgestrel pills, or within three hours of taking ellaOne, you will need to take another pill or have an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted to prevent pregnancy.
Many women do not know that the best way to prevent birth control is the copper coil (IUD). This can be inserted up to five days after unprotected sex, and 0.1% of women who choose this method can become pregnant. An additional benefit of the coil is that once it is in place, it can last for ten years (depending on the type of coil), providing a quick response and long-term fertility balance. Win-win!
The great thing about the copper coil is that if you have a regular cycle, it can be inserted up to 5 days after ovulation. This means you can have unprotected sex with your cycle and install the coil.
If there is a concern about a sexually transmitted infection, the clinic will provide you with antibiotics in a timely manner as well as diagnostic tests.
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Availability of IUDs as emergency contraceptives from your GP may be limited, but all sexual health centers should offer them.
Most women have no side effects when taking morning-after pills, and there are no serious or long-term side effects associated with them at all. However, the NHS says you may experience:
Your period may be earlier, later, lighter, heavier or more painful than usual after taking the morning after pill. This is because, when taken at the right time, the morning after pill delays ovulation and, as a result, changes the menstrual cycle. This is temporary and should only affect the next period before things return to normal. For more insight, check out our users tested for morning after dose effects, and morning after dose reviews.
There is a long (and heavy) list of medications that may interact with the morning after pill.
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The NHS Contraception website says not to take if you have severe asthma, take St John’s Wort, take certain medicines for epilepsy, HIV or tuberculosis, take
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