The Morning-After Pill: What You Need to Know

Morning after pills_Shuyao ChenIt doesn’t matter if it was a one-night stand or if you have been with your partner for a while; accidents happen. When they do, we at Valley want you to be prepared. Buying the morning-after pill can be awkward, especially if you don’t know what to expect, so let us help:

It’s over-the-counter

For a while emergency contraception was only available behind the counter, with a prescription from a doctor and a valid ID. Now, you can walk into any drug store (or even Walmart!) and buy an emergency contraception pill without having that awkward conversation with a pharmacist. Still feel awkward? Use the self-checkout.

There are more options than Plan B One-Step

Arguably the most popular brand, Plan B One-Step, can be found anywhere, and almost every drug store will have their generic brand next to it. The generic brand will cost less, but there are less studies on the generic brands than there are on Plan B.

It’s around $50 

It’s an incredibly high dosage of birth control, and a regular pack of birth control without health insurance usually costs around $30 (roughly around $1 per pill).

It’s not the abortion pill

An abortion pill needs to be prescribed by a doctor and costs hundreds of dollars; emergency contraception pills do not. The morning-after pill does not cause an abortion – think of it as a really strong birth control pill. It releases the hormone levonorgestrel, which stops the ovary from releasing an egg. If you are already pregnant, it will not terminate the pregnancy.

It’s most effective within 72 hours of unprotected sex

It can take the body up to 72 hours to release an egg, and it can take sperm up to 72 hours to reach it. Because of that, the morning-after pill is most effective when used as soon as possible.

Some of the side effects are brutal

The most common side effects are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headache, tiredness, breast pain and changes in your period.  They should usually go away within 48 hours of taking the pill, but if they don’t, it’s best to see a doctor. As a side note, all emergency contraception pills do say that if you do vomit within two hours after taking the pill, you should see a doctor.

Photo by Shuyao Chen 

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