Morning after pill

What is the morning after pill?

The morning after pill is a way to delay ovulation, this pill is an emergency contraception that helps to prevent pregnancy after sperm got into the vagina. When you’ve taken this pill, sperm cells don’t come into contact with an egg.  So there is no egg to be fertilized.


A morning after pill doesn’t always prevent pregnancy. If an egg had already been released, the morning after pill won’t work anymore. It is possible the egg may be fertilized by a sperm cell.

Where do you buy the morning after pill?

You can buy the morning after pill at the pharmacy. You don’t need a prescription from your doctor. Norlevo costs around $16USD. EllaOne costs around $40USD.   

When is the morning after pill still effective?

There is the least risk of becoming pregnant if you take the morning after pill within 12 hours after having sex. You can take it a bit later too, but the quicker the better.

There are two different morning after pills on Saba:  Norlevo and ellaOne.  

  1. Norlevo works for up to 3 days, or 72 hours, after unprotected sex.   
  2. ellaOne pill works for up to 5 days, or 120 hours after unprotected sex.

The morning after pill is also called emergency contraception because it is a ‘problem solver’, not a contraceptive!

Do you take any medicines?

Do you take pills for HIV, epilepsy or tuberculosis? Do you use remedies containing St John’s Wort? If you’ve taken any of these in the last 4 weeks, the morning after pill will be less effective and it’s safer to have an emergency coil fitted. This reduces the chance of an unplanned pregnancy.

If you’re allergic to anything in the morning after pill, you shouldn’t take it. Read more about this in the instruction leaflet. That also contains information about how certain medicines may reduce the effectiveness of the morning after pill.

Do you have a liver or intestinal condition? Or do you take antacids? Then ask your doctor which type of emergency contraception is best for you. 

After Hours Emergency?

The Pharmacy on Saba (The Saba Wellness Pharmacy) is open from 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 12 noon on Saturdays. If you need a morning after pill in the evening or on a Sunday, go to the emergency room at the hospital.  You may want to ask a friend or your partner to go along with you for support.


Keep a morning after pill on hand at home. Then you’re prepared if something goes wrong with your contraception.  Be sure to keep an eye on the expiration date!

How often can I take the morning after pill?

Taking the morning-after pill (also known as emergency contraception) multiple times doesn’t change its effectiveness, and won’t cause any long-term side effects. You can use the morning-after pill whenever you need to.

But it’s not a good idea to use as your regular, go-to method of birth control because:

  • The morning-after pill doesn’t prevent pregnancy as well as other types of birth control like the IUD, implant, pill, shot, ring, or condoms.
  • Taking the morning-after pill repeatedly is usually more expensive and less convenient than being on a regular method of birth control.
  • Morning-after pill side effects such as bleeding between periods or nausea are temporary and harmless, but they can be annoying.
  • With frequent use, the morning-after pill might make your periods irregular and hard to predict. 

It’s totally safe to take the morning-after pill as many times as you need to; but it’s not the best way to prevent pregnancy long-term. Birth control that you use before or during sex is much more effective, affordable, and convenient.

Get the facts!

Fact: The morning after pill does not cause abortion or miscarriage.

The morning after pill works by preventing an egg from being fertilized by the sperm. The morning after pill will not harm an already-established pregnancy, and it therefore has nothing to do with abortion or miscarriage.

Fact: The morning after pill’s side effects are similar to and no more severe than the Pill.

Scary stories about side effects are sometimes used to deter people from taking what is a very safe, common medication. The morning after pill isn’t very different from oral contraceptive in terms of side effects. Brands like Plan B contain the same hormone (levonorgestrel) that is found in many birth control pills, just at a higher dosage. There could be birth-control-like side effects such as headaches, nausea, or irregular bleeding but in most all cases, nothing unusual, scary, or serious.

Fact: The morning after pill does not cause infertility.

Many people who hope to have children later worry about this, but it’s not true: There is no evidence that the morning after pill affects any future pregnancies or fertility. Note that unprotected sex, however, could affect a person’s fertility if they get a sexually transmitted infection that goes untreated, such as chlamydia.

Fact: The morning after pill can be taken up to 3-5 days after unprotected sex.

The window of time that the morning after pill would be effective is longer than its name would imply. Depending on which formula you’re taking, the morning after pill can be taken up to 3–5 days after unprotected sex and still be effective. Note, however, that it becomes less effective the longer you wait to take it (the morning after pill is also not 100 percent effective, even when taken promptly).

Fact: There should be no stigma in taking the morning after pill

The stigma attached to taking the morning after pill is just wrong, and backward, and needs to stop. It’s very responsible to take charge of your reproductive health by taking the morning after pill if you need to. There is no shame at all in doing what you need to do to take care of yourself and your sexual health. 

Do you want extra advice about the morning after pill?

Have you taken a morning after pill but still worry you might be pregnant? Contact your doctor or a Public Health nurse.