Emergency contraception, more commonly known as the ‘Morning After Pill’, is a pill which can be taken up to 72 hours after sexual intercourse. The morning after pill is commonly used in situations where unprotected sex has occurred, and pregnancy is wished to be prevented. However, in many cases, the morning after pill is required when regular contraception has failed, such as a condom splitting. The morning after pill needs only to be taken once after an act of unprotected sex.
Although the pill has been proven to be effective for up to 72 hours after sexual intercourse, the sooner it is taken, the more likely it is to be effective. It is recommended that it is taken within 12 hours after sexual intercourse has been performed.
The pill works through the use of levonorgestrel, which is a female hormone. Levonorgestrel prevents the release of an egg by a woman’s ovaries, whilst also thinning the lining of the womb, preventing a fertilised egg from implanting itself onto it in order to grow.