You’ve taken the morning-after pill (also called the day-after pill or Plan B) in the past and you’re wondering if it could affect your fertility? Maybe you’ve heard this assumption from a friend or while reading an obscure website on the internet. Don’t worry any longer; the answer is no. Whether you are trying to get pregnant today or you are planning to have a baby sometime in the future, here are a few things that you should know about this emergency contraceptive.

What are the reasons for taking the morning-after pill?

Emergency contraception is used as a backup in case of unprotected sex in order to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. You might have needed to take Plan B for several reasons: because the condom came off or broke, because you missed taking your birth control pill more than twice during your menstrual cycle, because you didn’t use a condom and your partner ejaculated inside you, because your diaphragm was out of place, or for any other reason that made you doubt the birth control method you use.

A woman taking an emergency contraceptive pill

How does the day-after pill work?

The emergency contraceptive pill must be taken within three days of having unprotected sex. You don’t have to wait for the next morning to take it. Unfortunately, this contraceptive is not 100% efficient. The sooner you take it the more effective it will be. Indeed, taking Plan B within 24 hours will reduce the risk of getting pregnant by up to 95%. If you take it within 72 hours, this is lowered to 89%.
The morning after pill contains 1.5 milligrams of levonorgestrel that inhibits or delays ovulation or prevents the fertilization of an egg by sperm. If you are already pregnant when you take it, the pill is rendered ineffective and can’t cause any miscarriage or abortion. It’s not the same as an abortion pill. If the egg is already fertilized by sperm the drug won’t affect the development of the fetus.

What are the side effects?

There are no serious long-term side effects for the use of the morning-after pill. It’s generally believed to be safe for almost every woman. Incidentally, you won’t necessarily encounter any side effects at all after taking emergency contraception.
Some women, however, do experience short-term side effects such as: nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, abdominal pain, dizziness, breast tenderness, and more painful periods. If you feel one or several side effects, these will normally disappear within a day or two. Another possible side effect is that your next period might be late or early.
If you vomit after using the contraceptive, you may have to take another dose. It’s best to contact your doctor or a medical professional to know exactly what you should do.

Can the morning-after pill affect my chances of having a child in the future?

You don’t need to worry; using Plan B in the past – even more than once – won’t affect your fertility. If you have any trouble while trying to conceive, you should see your doctor, but remember that it has nothing to do with the morning-after pill.
However, if you consider using it again, you should be aware that this drug is only to be taken in case of an emergency, for example if you have forgotten to take your usual birth control pill. The morning-after pill does not work as a replacement for regular contraception. It’s just as the name suggests: a plan B!

What are the other contraceptive solutions?

If you don’t currently take any birth control and getting pregnant is not on your agenda for the moment, you should consider using regular contraceptives such as a copper IUD, implant or birth control pills. If you’re not sure about what would suit you best, you should talk about contraception with your doctor or your gynecologist. These methods are more effective and less expensive than Plan B and you’ll certainly feel less stressed about getting pregnant by accident!