The morning-after is a safe, effective way to significantly reduce your risk of becoming pregnant after you have unprotected sex, or if your regular method of birth control fails.
Contrary to popular belief, there’s no limit on the number of times you can use the morning-after pill to prevent pregnancy. If you’re concerned about becoming pregnant, you can safely take the morning-after pill whenever you think it’s necessary without any worries.
However, you shouldn’t rely on the morning-after pill as a regular form of birth control, since it’s less effective and more likely to cause side effects than the birth control pill, patch or ring.
This applies whether you use the ella® morning-after pill or a levonorgestrel morning-after pill, such as Econtra® EZ or Plan B One-Step®.
Below, we’ve explained the basics of how the morning-after pill works, the potential side effects it can cause, as well as what you should know if you’re considering using the morning-after pill for the second or subsequent time.
Currently, there are two main types of morning-after pill on the market, both of which have high success rates at preventing pregnancy.
The first of these is ella®, which contains an ingredient called ulipristal acetate. Based on data from the World Health Organization, studies have shown that women who used emergency contraceptive with ulipristal acetate had a 98.8 percent rate of effectiveness. However, it’s recommended to take this pill within 120 hours of sexual activity.
It’s also worth noting that emergency contraception is most effective when taken as soon as possible after sexual activity.
The second type of morning-after pill is the levonorgestrel morning-after pill. You may have seen this type of morning-after pill sold under brand names such as Econtra® EZ, Plan B One-Step®, My Way® or Take Action®.
The levonorgestrel morning-after pill is also highly effective when it’s used correctly. According to WHO data, 97.9 to 98.8 percent of women who take this type of morning-after pill within 72 to 120 hours of having unprotected sex will not become pregnant.
Put simply, both types of morning-after pill are highly effective when used correctly. They’re also both very safe, with only mild short-term side effects and no long-term or serious side effects.
If you’re worried about becoming pregnant, it’s okay to use either type of morning-after pill.