What is the morning-after pill?

What is the morning-after pill?
In collaboration with Lea Wauquier, Doctor of Pharmacy Professional proofreading
and midwife Charline Professional proofreading


What is emergency contraception? 

The morning-after pill is an emergency contraceptive used to prevent pregnancy following unprotected or inadequately protected sexual intercourse. It is generally taken after forgetting to take the pill, breaking the condom or failing to protect oneself. There are two types: levonorgestrel, which can be used between 0 and 3 days after unprotected intercourse, and ulipristal acetate, which can be used up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse. The earlier you take the pill, the more effective it is: taken within 24 hours of unprotected intercourse, its efficacy is 95%, then drops to 85% on the second day, and finally to 58% if taken between 48 and 72 hours. It is therefore preferable to take it as soon as possible. In either case, they are not 100% effective against unwanted pregnancy.


morning-after pill

How does the morning-after pill work? 

The morning-after pill is not an abortifacient (which triggers an abortion), but only prevents fertilization of the egg by a sperm. Once the egg has been fertilized, the morning-after pill is ineffective. It's the hormone (levonorgestrel for the former and ulipristal acetate for the latter) present in the pill that blocks the growth of the ovarian follicle, thus delaying the moment of ovulation.


Does the morning-after pill cause side effects?

Like many drugs, the morning-after pill can cause side effects such as nausea (if you vomit within 3 hours of taking the pill, you'll need to take another one, as it won't be properly absorbed), lower abdominal pain, bleeding that isn't periods (in this case, menstrual panties can be a solution), and disruption of the menstrual cycle. By blocking the ovarian follicle and thus ovulation, the morning-after pill can delay future cycles. 


How do I get the morning-after pill?

Anyone can obtain emergency contraception:

You can obtain the morning-after pill free of charge if you have a medical prescription from your gynecologist, midwife or doctor, for example. This will be reimbursed with your carte vitale.

For minors, the morning-after pill is free and can be distributed anonymously. It is also possible for someone else to collect the morning-after pill for you, although it is preferable for the person concerned sto do so themselves, as they will benefit from precise advice and important information that may be poorly relayed if someone else collects it. Don't hesitate to consult or ask a healthcare professional if you have any questions. 

A very important point to note: the morning-after pill is an emergency contraception, not to be taken systematically, and does not in any way protect against sexually transmitted infections and diseases! So in the event of unprotected sexual intercourse, it's important to have an STI/STD check-up. 

The morning-after pill is available to everyone without a prescription. It is free for adults without social security coverage and for minors. Emergency contraception can be delivered anonymously and free of charge. 


Where can I buy the morning-after pill?


The school nurse can issue the morning-after pill as emergency contraception to a minor. The pill is free of charge.

Emergency contraception is available in pharmacies: the cost of the morning-after pill with levonorgestrel is between €3 and €7. Ulipristal costs less than €20.

The morning-after pill is available from family education centers (CEGIDD), planning or family education centers (CPEF), free centers for information, screening and diagnosis of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections (STDs) l.



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The information contained in the articles on www-elia-lingerie.com is general information only. Although reviewed by health professionals, this information is not error-free, does not constitute health advice or consultation, and is not intended to provide a diagnosis or suggest a course of treatment. Under no circumstances may this information be used as a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.