The Morning After Pill: Wut?
The Pill. The Morning After Pill. The Abortion Pill. What the heck?
Most people know what “the pill” is, even if they don’t really know how it works. But if you are a little confused about the difference between the Abortion Pill and the Morning After Pill, you are not alone. The first thing you should know is: there is a significant difference between the two. Here’s what you should know about the morning-after pill.
The morning-after pill is also sometimes called “Plan B,” which is also part of the brand name for a product. As the terms “morning after” and “Plan B” suggest, it is a “backup” method of preventing pregnancy. Unlike the Abortion Pill, it is not used as a method of terminating a pregnancy.
Can the Morning After Pill Prevent an Unplanned Pregnancy?
If you have had unprotected intercourse, or if your method of birth control failed (for example, a condom broke) you might be worried about having an unplanned pregnancy. You also may be concerned about an unwanted pregnancy if you have been sexually assaulted. One of the options for preventing pregnancy is to take what is called a “morning-after” pill.
The morning-after pill is not a hormonal contraceptive like the pill but is composed of one of two drugs: levonorgestrel or ulipristal acetate. These drugs are marketed under the names “Plan B One-Step” or “Ella”. The morning-after pill must be taken as soon as possible after intercourse for maximum effectiveness. Plan B One-Step is not effective after 72 hours, and Ella is not effective after 5 days. However, the longer the delay, the less effective either drug is at preventing pregnancy. It is also less effective in people who are overweight.
Both drugs operate by preventing or delaying ovulation. However, unlike the pill, the morning-after pill will only work after a person has had intercourse. It will not prevent pregnancy if taken before intercourse, and it is not intended, like the Abortion Pill, to induce a miscarriage. The morning-after pill is not as effective at preventing pregnancy as other prophylactic methods, and should never be relied upon as a primary prevention method.
Side Effects of the Morning After Pill
Any drug can have adverse side effects, and this is certainly true when a drug is designed to interfere with a healthy reproductive system.
After taking the pill, some women experience fatigue, headaches, dizziness, nausea, or vomiting. If you vomit within a few hours of taking the pill, you should consult a health professional to determine whether you should take an additional dose. Taking these pills can also lead to irregular menstrual cycles – either early, late, or unusually heavy – and can also cause spotting, cramping, breast tenderness, and abdominal pain. Often, these symptoms are mild, but some people have a severe reaction. People who have serious adverse effects should see a doctor right away.
Is Taking the Pill an Abortion?
Occasionally, a sperm may be able to fertilize an egg very shortly after intercourse – within a few minutes or hours. In these cases, the morning-after pill may operate not as a preventative, but as an abortifacient – that is, rather than preventing ovulation, it can prevent a fertilized egg – an embryo – from implanting in the uterus, and terminate what would be a viable pregnancy. If you are in Coeur d’Alene and you are concerned about this possibility, you should seek out support services before taking the pill to make sure you’ve considered all of your options.
Further, if you have taken the morning-after pill and your period is significantly delayed (for example, by more than one week), you should take a pregnancy test to determine whether you are pregnant. As noted above, the morning-after pill is not as reliable as other methods of preventing pregnancy, and it is possible to become pregnant even if you have taken the morning-after pill.
How to Gain Access to Support Services in Coeur d’Alene
Dealing with a potential pregnancy can be stressful and difficult. Women who are considering taking the morning-after pill or obtaining an abortion because they fear an unwanted pregnancy should speak to a trusted family member, friend, or counselor before making a decision. If you have no one close to you to whom you can turn, contact Open Arms Real Choices clinic. We can provide no-cost pregnancy screening, information, and advice. The important thing is to make sure you have correct information about all of your options, and that you take the necessary time to decide what is best for your physical and mental health, both short- and long-term.
In specific cases, the morning-after pill is a drug that can reduce the likelihood of an unwanted pregnancy. Currently, there are two types that are most prominent: Plan B and Ella. Although both can sometimes stop an unwanted pregnancy, they are not 100% effective. What’s more, the pill can act as an abortifacient and may cause adverse side effects. If you believe you may be pregnant, contact Open Arms Real Choices Clinic to book a no-cost pregnancy screening and counseling appointment.