In Case of Contraceptive Failure: The Morning After Pill
Up to 72 hours following unprotected intercourse, and preferably less than 24, you may choose to take the Morning After Pill. The Morning After Pill treatment actually consists of four pills, two taken initially and two more taken twelve hours after the initial dosage. This is not a form of contraception. Each of the pills contains a high dosage of the synthetic hormones estrogen and/or progesterone. The pills prevent implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus. Some women may experience side effects including headache, nausea and vomiting. More serious side effects may occur, and those women who are advised against using birth control pills are advised not to use the morning after pill.
The morning after pill has been proved highly effective if used within the recommended time period. However, if pregnancy does occur despite the use of the pills, the hormones may adversely affect the fetus. If a woman is already pregnant when she takes the pills, the morning after pill will not induce an abortion and will endanger the health of the fetus. Prior to the administration of the morning after pill, a woman should be given a pregnancy test, which will detect a pregnancy if conception occurred more than ten days prior to the test. The morning after pill is not a form of contraception. Also, it will not prevent pregnancy if you have unprotected intercourse again after taking the pills.
The Health Center at Williams College offers the morning-after pill to students, although the nursing staff will want to discuss birth-control methods with those who request the pill.
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