Emergency hormonal contraceptive pills (also known as morning after pills) are taken in an emergency, i.e. if you have had unprotected sex or experienced contraceptive failure, so this could be if the condom broke or if you missed your pill.
There are two types of morning after pills available in the UK: those containing levonorgestrel, which can be taken up to 3 days after unprotected sex, and those containing uliptristal acetate, which can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex. Both options are most effective when taken ASAP.
The morning after pill works by delaying ovulation. It holds back the release of the egg, so any wandering sperm has nothing to fertilise and die off before the egg is released. Please keep in mind that sperm can live in the body for up to 5 days after unprotected sex. Morning after pills are not abortion pills. They only delay ovulation, so if you have already ovulated they won’t be effective.
It is really hard to pinpoint the exact moment of ovulation, as it can vary from person to person and from cycle to cycle, so it’s worth talking to your pharmacist or other professional rather than just risking it or assuming it won’t work.
However you access the morning after pill, we want you to feel empowered and secure in your choice. Have you ever taken the morning after pill? Why not share your story below?