8 Weird Side Effects Of The Morning After Pill

Plan B, AKA “the morning after pill,” is a form of oral emergency contraception that’s relatively new, so there are fewer statistics available on the side effects. This is typical with newer medications, as doctors haven’t been able to see long-term effects just yet. The dosage is even changing – it used to be a single dose, and now the most common suggestion is two separate pills. This is not to say that Plan B isn’t effective – it totally is – but the women who take it are basically learning about it right along with everybody else. For example, it was only a few years ago that we realized that Plan B was not effective for women over 165 pounds (for those of you who can’t use Plan B: Ella is here for you).

Emergency contraception is still controversial to some pro-life enthusiasts, so if you’re still feeling apprehensive about it, here are some helpful facts. Plan B is not an abortion pill. It prevents the fertilization of an unfertilized egg. You can only get pregnant when you ovulate, so if you are ovulating when the morning after pill becomes necessary, you have three to five days in order for it to be effective, but within 24 hours of unprotected sex is the best. If you have not ovulated yet, it will prevent your next ovulation from happening. If you already ovulated, it will prevent fertilization of the egg that’s still chilling out in your uterus. It’s a large dose of chemical hormones, not poison.

It’s also low-key upsetting that some of the side effects of Plan B are also pregnancy symptoms. So, while they’re a perfectly natural response to a flood of synthetic hormones, and technically nothing to worry about, it’s okay if you feel stressed about what Plan B makes your body do. Like I said, it’s a huge dose of hormones, so that’s going to mess up your system for longer than a few days. That’s why it’s called emergency contraception, so you only use it in case of emergencies. These are the eight top side effects of the morning after pill anyone with a uterus needs to know, in case you need to use emergency contraception.


Nausea is basically par for the course with Plan B. This is because you just took a heavy dose of chemical hormones - much heavier than the dosage in a standard birth control pill, for example, and nausea is a side effect of that. If you know that feeling, imagine multiplying that by four. That's Plan B level nausea. Again, it's a heavy dosage, so this isn't going to get out of your body in a few hours. It may take a few days, or even weeks, though it may decrease in severity over time.

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Okay, your body is doing the most right now. Of course you are going to feel fatigued! A good way to guess what your side effects might be is assessing what your period or PMS symptoms are. if you're a person who gets tired af the week leading up to or during your period, chances are you are going to be wiped out by the morning after pill. Fatigue is one of the more common side effects, so don't be surprised if your energy drops after using emergency contraception.

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Migraine Headaches

Plan B headaches can range from mild to full blown migraine headaches. According to The Migraine Trust, women are more prone to migraine headaches because they are often triggered by female sex hormones. Large spikes or drops in hormone dosage will greatly effect your liklihood of getting a migraine or even a mild headache. So, you can imagine what the heavy Plan B dosgae will do for someone who already gets chronic headaches. Yikes.

Source: iStock

Breast Soreness

Oh, hormones. Thanks for making our bodies so weird and achy all the time. We forget that the breasts are part of the endocrine system. Yup, the glands in your breasts also produce estrogen. When your hormones are effected by birth control, pregnancy, or anticipating your period, they tend to get sore. It's no different when you take emergency contraception. It's natural for your breats to become sore in reaction to hormones. After all, they're part of your reproductive system, too.

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Abnormal Menstrual Cycle

Your next period could last a long time or even arrive late . The hormones in Plan B could, and probably will, throw your already balanced system off kilter for a while. This is normal when you go on birth control for the first time, or switch hormonal birth control methods, so Plan B is just doing the same thing to your body right now. It's a foreign source of additional hormones that naturally occur in your body. Taking emergency contraception could also increase your risk of spotting between periods.

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Weird Discharge

This woman on Yahoo Answers said that she had brown colored discharge following her taking emergency contraception and before her period. As anyone who menstruates will tell you, the color and thickness of your menstrual blood changes depending on the day of your cycle, so in all liklihood, this was just some strange spotting, not discharge. However, you should be aware that the morning after pill may effect your normal vaginal discharge and normal color of your spotting.

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Ectopic Pregnancy

Like I said, if you take the morning after pill after an egg has already been fertilized, there's not much you can do. However, an egg can be fertilized in the fallopian tube and travel down towards the uterus where it embeds itself in the uterine lining - perfectly normal. After emergency contraception, though, the uterus may be too hostile of an environment for a fertilized egg to implant itself into the lining, so instead it implants in the fallopian tube or anywhere outside of the uterus.

Ectopic pregnancies can be life threatening if left untreated. If you think you may have an ectopic pregnancy, please see your doctor. Symptoms include: rash, itchiness, swelling, trouble breathing, wheezing, hives, and difficulty swallowing.

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Getting Pregnant

Okay, getting pregnant isn't a side effect of taking Plan B. The morning after pill doesn't make you pregnant, but you should still be aware that if your body is already pregnant when you take it, it might be too late. Of course, there are ways to handle an unwanted pregnancy whether you choose to get an abortion or not (and if you choose to - good for you, it's your body, and your choice). Plan B isn't 100 percent fool proof even if you take it in the recommended window of time. While researching this, I read about a woman who took it 20 minutes after having sex with her husband and still managed to somehow get pregnant. Who knew?

Source: iStock

Have you ever taken the morning after pill? Did you have a weird side effect we didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments!

You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.


7 Things You Must Know About Emergency Contraception

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