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How Does the Morning After Pill Work?

Ever wonder how does the morning after pill work to prevent pregnancy? You might be surprised to hear the truth...

By Mackenzie Z. KennedyPublished 5 years ago 3 min read

The morning after pill has become a favorite OTC medication for women who might have slipped up while taking their regular birth control methods. When taken properly, it can be anywhere from 75 to 90 percent effective as a form of birth control.

But, with popularity seems to come misinformation. Many rumors surround how the morning after pill operates — and many of them are just plain wrong. It's been wrongfully called a form of abortion, and called a potentially dangerous pill.

Ever wonder how does the morning after pill work? This article will help you understand how it all goes down, and why the morning after pill is sold over the counter.

How does the morning after pill work?

The morning after pill works in three different ways: it prevents ovulation, prevents fertilization, and prevents implantation. Depending on which pill you take, it may do one or more of the different methods.

For the sake of this article and simplicity, we're going to lump all birth control pills into a three-pronged approach. After all, every pill will be a little bit different and it's a good idea to just have a general grasp on what morning after pills do.

The morning pill has a lot of high dosages of hormones that are known for tricking the body into thinking it's pregnant. When a woman is pregnant, she doesn't release any more eggs into her uterus — simply because there's already a fertilized one there.

Many of the issues women have when it comes to the side effects of the morning after pill come from the reactions they have to these hormones. However, what you need to know before taking the morning after pill is that these side effects are temporary and will pass in a day or two.

In order to get pregnant, you need to have both sperm and an egg. No egg means no baby and no fertilization. As a result, the morning after pill prevents a large amount of pregnancies just by delaying a woman's ovulation time.

Almost all morning after pill brands have this trait as their main form of birth control. However, a very large percentage also prevent fertilization another way...

How does the morning after pill work to prevent fertilization?

The high amount of progesterone in morning after pills has another side effect that helps prevent fertilization. The progesterone slows down movement in the egg and sperm. With mobility compromised, the chances of the egg and sperm meeting decrease pretty heavily.

Simply put, if the egg and sperm don't find one another, you can't get pregnant because there's no fertilized egg to carry.

How does the morning after pill work to prevent implantation?

This part of learning how the morning after pill works is actually up for debate, because it's not completely certain that progesterone and levonorgestrel actually prevent implantation.

However, for the sake of this article, we're going to assume it does. In the event that an egg got fertilized, the hormones in the emergency contraception pill might thin out the lining of the uterus.

With a thinner uterus lining, there will be less of a chance of implantation. No implantation means that there will be no pregnancy, since you actually need an implanted egg in order to be pregnant.

If the egg is already implanted, the morning after pill will not do anything. There's nothing it can do, since all the measures that it uses are meant to prevent everything up to implantation.

As a result, it's not an abortifacient.


About the Creator

Mackenzie Z. Kennedy

Socialite and dating guru Mackenzie Kennedy knows all about the inner workings of people and society as a whole. It's not only her lifestyle - it's her passion. She lives in Hoboken with her pet dogs, Cassie and Callie.

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