The morning after pill: how does it affect your menstrual cycle? 

Navigating the complexities of our bodies can often feel like a never-ending journey, especially when introducing something new, like the morning after pill. How does it fit into our reproductive cycle? And, importantly, how does it affect our menstrual cycle?  

Today, we explore how it works and what side effects you might experience after taking it.  

What is the morning after pill – and how does it work? 

Emergencies call for an urgent response, and that’s precisely where the morning after pill steps in. The morning after pill is an emergency contraception taken after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure that safeguards your body against unplanned pregnancies. From missed pills to broken condoms and everything in between, it’s a safety net many rely on when they need it the most. But how exactly does it work? 

Put simply, the morning after pill prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation. By doing this, the pill ensures no cosy home for sperm to take up residence. Simple as that.  

When to take the morning after pill 

Despite its name, you don’t have to wait for daylight hours to take the morning after pill. If life throws you a curveball, head to your local pharmacy and take the recommended dose ASAP after unprotected sex.  

Remember that the longer you hold off taking the morning after pill, the less effective it becomes. Depending on which kind of pill you choose, you’ll need to take it between up to 5 days post-intercourse. However, it’s best to take it within 24 hours.  

If you’re feeling unsure, chat with your local pharmacist who can walk you through the dosage and what to expect.  

Does the morning after pill delay your period? 

It’s a common question with no one-size-fits-all answer. The reality is that, yes, the morning after pill can shake things up and change the timing of your period. Whether your period arrives late depends on the type of pill you choose and where you are in your cycle when you take it.   

Levonorgestrel-based pills, such as Plan B One-Step and Take Action, contain a hormone-like substance that can make your next period come earlier or later, but usually within a week of its expected date. On the other hand, the pill Ulipristal acetate (Ella) delays ovulation, potentially altering the timing of your period to be earlier or later than usual. 

If your period hasn’t arrived within a week of taking the morning after pill, a pregnancy test or GP visit might ease your mind. 

Your period after the morning after pill 

So, what should you expect after taking the morning after pill? Some people who menstruate experience temporary changes in their menstrual cycle, making it lighter or heavier. Spotting after the morning after pill is common, along with other period-related changes, including: 

  • changes in cycle length 
  • heavier or lighter menstrual bleeding 
  • increased breast tenderness 
  • nausea, fatigue or dizziness  
  • abdominal pain or cramps 
  • emotional changes.   

The good news is that not everyone will experience side effects following the morning after pill. And for those who do, it’s usually short-lived.  

Tracking your menstrual cycle can help. If you notice any persistent spotting or other concerning changes, consult your healthcare provider. 

Period apparel that has your back 

Navigating unpredictable periods following the morning after pill can feel daunting, but here’sa silver lining: Modibodi is right there with you. Our expertly designed range of period underwear can handle everything from light spotting to heavy bleeding, and it’s got your back no matter what your post-morning pill period brings, ensuring you stay comfortable, dry and protected.

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