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Morning After Pill Side Effects

Morning After Pill Side Effects

This article will enlist the different morning after pill side effects. This pill is a popular emergency contraceptive.
Amruta Deshpande
Last Updated: Dec 21, 2017
The morning after pill belongs to the class of emergency contraceptives that can be taken to reduce the risk of pregnancy in case of unprotected sex or when other contraceptive methods fail. Although it is named so, the term is misleading, as this pill works well if taken within 72 hours of sexual intercourse. Medical practitioners often call this pill, the post-coital pill (PCP). Like every product, it has its pros and cons, and in this article, you will come to know about the morning after pill side effects.


This pill has three different modes of action.
  • It alters the menstrual cycle and ends up delaying ovulation.
  • It does not allow the ovaries to release the egg, thus inhibiting ovulation.
  • It causes irritation to the lining of the uterus to inhibit implantation.
The pill works in one of the three ways mentioned above depending on the condition. It contains the same hormones (estrogen, progestin, or both) that are present in regular birth control pills. The higher dose of these hormones when taken after unprotected sex alters the normal hormonal balance of the body and can help in preventing pregnancy. The effectiveness is maximum when taken within 12 hours of sexual intercourse, however, reasonable effectiveness of the pill continues up to 120 hours.

Side Effects


Some women experience bleeding after taking the emergency contaceptive. Although this is not a very common side effect, there is nothing to worry. It may be due to the hormones the pill contains, either progestin or progestin combined with estrogen. However, to be on a safer side, it is better to consult your medical care provider.

Menstrual Cycle

Taking this pill may affect your menstruation cycle causing irregular periods. Your period may come earlier or later than normal, however, the difference generally does not exceed seven days. The pill may also affect your flow, making it lighter or heavier than normal. The pill does not entirely make you skip your period, however, if you do not get your period within three weeks of taking the pill, you must go for a pregnancy test.


The pill interferes with the normal process of ovulation. It causes hormonal imbalance in your body and disrupts fertility in the particular cycle in which you take the pill. However, your fertility will return to normal after your next period, provided you are not taking regular birth control. Emergency contraception does not impact your future fertility. But if you use the pill too often, it may be difficult for you to conceive. So, to be on a safer side and to reduce the impact of the pill on your fertility, it is recommended that you take the pill only in emergencies and limit the use to only once or twice a year.

Apart from these, this pill may also cause some other mild side effects that last for a day or two after taking the pill. Some of these include nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headache, dizziness, abdominal pain, and breast tenderness.

This was all about morning after pill side effects. Long term side effects do not occur, provided the pill is taken only in case of emergency and as directed.

Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.