The morning after pill: common myths debunked

We all know what it is and what it is used for, but how accurately do you understand how the morning after pill works, where you can get it from and how you should take it? With so many misconceptions and rumors surrounding emergency contraception, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. If you’re struggling to figure out what’s true and what’s false, here are some of the most common myths about the morning after pill debunked.

pill myths

It’s difficult to get hold of

Many women are reluctant to use emergency contraception as they feel it will either be too difficult or embarrassing to get hold of. However, nowadays there are plenty of easy and discreet ways you can access it without the need for an awkward chat with a doctor or pharmacist. For example, as well as GP surgeries and sexual health clinics, the morning after pill is now available over the counter from most pharmacies. If you don’t want to have a face-to-face encounter, you can also purchase it safely and confidentially from online healthcare services, such as Europa Pharmacy. Ordering the morning after pill in advance online can also mean you are prepared in case you ever need it in the future.

It must be taken within 24 hours

Despite its name, the morning after pill does not have to be used within 24 hours of unprotected sex. The truth is, it can be effective for up to three to five days, depending on the type of pill you use. Levonelle can be effective at preventing pregnancy for up to 72 hours after sex, while ellaOne can be taken up to 120 hours after. However, both pills are more effective if they are taken within the first day, and ellaOne is considered to be more effective than Levonelle when taken within three days. The longer you delay taking it, the higher the risk of pregnancy.

It’s the same as getting an abortion

Contrary to popular belief, taking the morning after pill is not the same as having an abortion. The tablet contains similar hormones to the normal contraceptive pill and works in pretty much the same way – by preventing the egg from becoming fertilised or from implanting. An abortion terminates a pregnancy once the egg has already been fertilised and implanted.

It can affect your fertility

Another common misconception is that using the morning after pill more than once can make you infertile. However, there has been no scientific evidence to suggest this is true. Emergency contraception only temporarily affects your ability to get pregnant. While healthcare experts do advise that it should only be used as a one-off and should not be taken instead of regular contraception, using the morning after pill more than once will not should not have any affect on your long-term fertility.

If you have any further questions about emergency contraception, check the patient information leaflet that comes with the pill or speak to your doctor.

**Disclaimer – this is a collaborative post**