Morning After Pill Effectiveness

I needed to get the morning pill however this was around 48 hours after the first time I had sex - will this be effective in the time frame? I was told having the pill on an empty stomach would do? Any advice much appreciated as I am worried because I had unprotected sex during my fertile window. Also, if it is not effective, when would be the best time to take a pregnancy test? How quickly would I be able to see the result?

Hi Sophie, thanks for sharing. This is a very common scenario.

There are two methods of emergency contraception:
1- the emergency contraceptive pill (or morning-after pill) which are called as Levonelle or ellaOne.
2- the copper IUD (intrauterine device, or coil)

In terms of the morning after pill, it is likely you were given ellaOne. EllaOne contains ulipristal acetate and is licensed to be taken within 120 hours (five days) of sex. However, the sooner after unprotected sex you take the pill, the more effective it is likely to be. A study published in 2010 showed that only 1.3% of women became pregnant after taking ellaOne.

Both Levonelle and ellaOne are effective only if taken before the release of an egg from the ovary -ovulation. Hence why the sooner you take it the better. The likelihood is that you will not be pregnant but it is worth taking a pregnancy test 2 weeks after the episode of unprotected sex to check.

If you vomit within two hours of taking Levonelle or three hours of taking ellaOne, seek medical advice as you will need to take another dose or have a coil fitted to prevent pregnancy. The morning after pill can be taken at any time of the day on an empty stomach, or with or after food. Taking ellaOne with or after food may help to prevent nausea that is sometimes experienced for a few hours afterwards.

I hope that helps!

Sarah x

Hi Dr HANX, thanks so much for your advice! When you say release of an egg - does this happen every time you have sex or only when you are ovulating? Thankfully i didn’t feel sick however i have really sore breasts - is this a side effect? Or maybe because I am nearly due?

I take it if my period arrives then no need to check for pregnancy?

Sorry for all the questions! x

Hey @Dr.HANX_Co-founder quick question related to your answer about taking a pregnancy test. I’ve heard that pregnancy tests aren’t accurate unless you take them after you’ve missed a period, is that true? Or can it detect that you’re pregnant way before that?