The Morning After Pill (Emergency Contraception)
- Emergency Contraception, also known as the morning after pill, is a form of birth control you can take to prevent pregnancy up to three days (72 hours) after unprotected sex.
- It is safe and effective if taken correctly.
- Available at health centers and pharmacies, Emergency Contraception is sold under the brand name Postinor.
- It will not prevent you from catching Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs).
- Emergency Contraception is not an abortion. The hormone in Emergency Contraception prevents ovulation (release of an egg from the ovary) for one menstrual cycle. It will not affect or harm an existing pregnancy.
- Emergency Contraception is a medicine. Using herbal remedies, lime juice, water solutions or other drinks can harm you and will not work.
Emergency contraception is a safe way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. In Nigeria, the most common form of Emergency Contraception is Postinor-2.
Take one tablet as soon as possible after unprotected sex. The sooner that you take the tablet, the more effective it is likely to be. The first tablet should be taken no later than 72 hours after intercourse. It is best to take it immediately after you receive it from a doctor or pharmacy. Take the second tablet exactly 12 hours after the first tablet. As you must take the second tablet exactly 12 hours after the first tablet, you should work out a time when you will be able to take the second tablet (for example, not in the middle of the night when you will probably be asleep) and take the first tablet 12 hours before then. You should remember though that the sooner the first tablet is taken, the greater the likelihood of the treatment stopping you from falling pregnant.
Pregnancy doesn't happen right after you have sex — that's why it's possible to prevent pregnancy a few days after you do it. It’s all about timing.
Sperm can live inside your body for up to 6 days after sex, waiting for an egg to show up. If you ovulate during that time, the sperm can meet up with your egg and cause pregnancy. Morning-after pills work by temporarily stopping your ovary from releasing an egg. It’s kind of like pulling the emergency brake on ovulation.
Where you’re at in your menstrual cycle and how soon you take morning-after pills can affect how well they prevent pregnancy. Morning-after pills won’t work if your body has already started ovulating.
It is estimated that Postinor-2 will prevent 85% of expected pregnancies. 95% of expected pregnancies will be prevented if taken within the first 24 hours, declining to 58% if taken between 48 hours and 72 hours after unprotected intercourse.
Women aged 16 and above can use Postinor-2 with no worries. Remember, Postinor-2 is an emergency contraceptive only. Postinor-2 is not intended as a regular method of contraception. If you need more information on forms of contraceptives, Find a Health Centre.
Common side effects are tiredness, nausea and vomiting. Some patients have also experienced stomach pain, diarrhoea, dizziness, headache, tender breasts, increased vaginal bleeding and skin reactions. If you have taken Postinor-2 and have a severe reaction, visit a health centre immediately.