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Everything you need to know about the morning after pill

If you do not (yet) want to have children, various contraceptives can prevent you from becoming pregnant. Consider, for example, the contraceptive pill, an IUD or hormone-free contraception.

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The morning after pill does not belong in this list, because it is not a substitute for, for example, a condom or IUD. It is less reliable and also has many more side effects than ‘normal’ contraception. Think of it as an emergency tool.

When do you use it?

Do this as soon as possible after having unprotected sex, preferably within 12 hours. The following applies: the sooner you take the pill, the smaller the chance that you will become pregnant. You can buy it without a prescription at the pharmacy or drugstore.

When should you not take the pill?

It is not wise to take the morning after pill if it has been more than 120 hours (5 days) since you had unprotected sex. Do not do this even if you could already be pregnant.

Also read:
Everything you need to know about birth control>

What are the side effects?

There are two types of morning after pills: one with levonor gel and one with ulipristal. You must take the first within 3 days (72 hours) and the other within 5 days (120 hours).
Both pills can cause some side effects such as nausea, vomiting and headaches. Fortunately, this does not happen often and the complaints usually disappear within a day or two.

Do you experience diarrhea or vomiting within three hours of taking the morning after pill? Then you must take a new tablet as soon as possible.

And what about your period?

If you have taken a morning after pill, your period will usually return on the same day as normal. Sometimes that can be a few days earlier or later. Keep in mind that you may have some breakthrough bleeding until your next period.

If your period is lighter or if you are not having your period, it is wise to take a pregnancy test. Is it negative and is your period still missing? Then repeat the pregnancy test a week later. There is a small chance that you will still get pregnant despite taking the morning after pill.

Source:, Thuisarts &

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