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Emergency contraception

  • If you don’t use any contraception or if something goes wrong (such as: pill forgotten or a broken condom) you can get the morning-after pill at the pharmacist.  
  • Do this as soon as possible, in any case within 72 hours.  
  • The morning-after pill will try to prevent a pregnancy.  
  • Be careful: emergency contraception is not abortion!
  • After taking a morning-after pill it is important to contact a doctor to discuss the follow-up.

Have a pregnancy test:

  • if your period is more than seven days late.
  • if the bleeding is much less than normal.
  • if for any other reason you suspect being pregnant.

When do you use the morning-after pill?

  • Something can go wrong during sex and then you run the risk of getting pregnant.  
  • In that case it is best to take the morning-after pill.

For instance:

  • If you don’t use contraception.
  • If the condom is broken or came off;
  • if semen was spilt in or around the vagina;
  • if you have forgotten one or more pill or a patch;
  • if you started one day too late with a new strip, patch or ring;
  • if you have to vomit or suffer from serious diarrhoea ;
  • if the coil was pushed out;
  • if you take antibiotics or any other medication which makes the pill less reliable;
  • if you were the victim of a rape.

How does the morning-after pill work?

  • The morning-after pill contains a hormone (levonorgestrel) that prevents a fertilised egg from attaching to the womb.  
  • The sooner you take the morning-after pill, the better, at the latest within 72 hours after having unprotected sex.

There is also a new morning-after pill which you can take up to 5 days after having unprotected sex.  But the sooner you take the emergency pill, the better. It is only available on doctor’s prescription. 

Are you too late for the morning-after pill and have you have unprotected sex during the past six days? You may ask for an emergency coil to prevent a pregnancy.  In this case, consult your doctor.

  • The morning-after pill does not protect you against a next time you have sex. 
  • It is not harmful to take the morning-after pill several times in one month. But your cycle may become irregular.   
  • If it went wrong once, it is an extra reason to choose a good contraceptive or to use the chosen contraceptive more carefully.  
  • Use a contraceptive if you want to have sex again and you want to make sure that you will not become pregnant.

What do you notice of the morning-after pill?

  • The morning-after pill can make you nauseous. 
  • Some women have to vomit or suffer from headache or sore breasts.  These side effects disappear after two days.
  • After the morning-after pill your next period may start on another day than the usual day. 
  • The bleeding may be somewhat heavier than normal.

Be careful:

  • If you have to vomit or if you have watery diarrhoea within four hours after taking the morning-after pill, contact your family doctor.  
  • In that case, the morning-after pill is not reliable.  
  • It is wise to take an extra morning-after pill, plus some medication to stop vomiting.