POSTPILL: Uses, health benefits, and side effects of postpill



POSTPILL is an emergency contraceptive used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sexual activity. It is popularly known as the "morning-after" pill. However, it is not advised to wait until the morning after sex before you take it. WHY? The sooner you take Postpill after unprotected sex, the more effective it is.

Postpill has just one dose, hence you use it once before buying another one for another time. The pill contains 1.5 milligrams of levonorgestrel, which is used in lower doses in many birth control pills.

Depending upon where you are in your cycle, Postpill helps avert pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. It may prevent or delay ovulation.

 Please note that:

  • Postpill is not the same as RU-486, which is an abortion pill. 
  • It does not cause a miscarriage or abortion. 
  • It will not work if you are already pregnant when you take it.

How does it work?

Postpill works by delaying the increase in the hormone that starts ovulation, the release of an egg. By delaying or stopping the egg from being released, the sperm can’t reach the egg and pregnancy can’t occur.

The contraceptive pill, therefore, needs to be taken before the hormone surge occurs; its effectiveness decreases the closer it’s given to ovulation and it is not effective if given after fertilization has occurred.


How Effective Is Postpill?

With up to 87% effectiveness, taking the pill within 72 hours after unprotected sex will minimize the risk of getting pregnant when it is taken as directed. However, taking Postpill within 24 hours would be much more effective.

WHO can take Postpill?

You can take Postpill if:

  • You didn't use any birth control.
  • The condom came off or broke.
  • You were forced to have unprotected sex.
  • The diaphragm fell out of place.
  • You missed at least two or three active birth control pills in a row.
  • Your partner didn't pull out in time.
  • You aren’t too sure about the effectiveness of the birth control method you used recently.

Who cannot take postpill

The morning after pill should not be taken by:

  • Males
  • Breastfeeding women
  • Pregnant women.
  • Someone is allergic to any of its ingredients. Therefore ensure you check its ingredients before using. Very important. 

How to use Postpill:

Ensure you read all directions on the product package before taking this medication. If you have any questions, talk to your pharmacist. If your doctor has prescribed this medication, take it as directed.

Take 1 tablet by mouth with food as soon as possible after unprotected sex. This medication works best when it is taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex.

If you throw up within 2 hours of taking this pill, reach out to your doctor to ask if you need to repeat the dose. After you take this medication, the time when your period comes and how much you bleed may change. You may bleed much more heavily than you are during your previous period. Spotting or bleeding may occur before your next period after taking Postpill. 

Make an appointment with your doctor if your period is more than 7 days late. You may need to take a pregnancy test because the only initial way to know if the emergency pill has worked is to take a pregnancy test three weeks after you’ve had unprotected sex. An estimated 0.6 to 2.6% of women who take the morning-after pill after unprotected sex will still get pregnant. Nevertheless, it considerably reduces your risk. 

Is it still possible to get pregnant after using Postpill?

It is very much possible if:

  • The contraceptive pill isn’t taken within the first 72 hours after unprotected sex, or the ulipristal acetate pill isn’t taken within 120 hours;
  • It was taken with antibiotics or other medication that would decrease the effect of the pill.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea occurs within 4 hours of taking the pill.
  • Ovulation has already occurred.
  • The Postpill has been taken several times in the same month.


Side effects of Postpill and possible remedies:

  • Breast tenderness

To get rid of breast pain, apply warm heating pads or take a warm bath, kneading the breast area. 

  • Diarrhea

In the case of diarrhea, drink lots of fluids and avoid greasy foods, eggs, milk, and alcohol, giving preference to black, chamomile, or guava leaf tea.

  • Nausea and vomiting

To reduce the chances of one vomiting, food should be eaten as soon as the pill is taken. If nausea occurs, a home remedy may be prepared and taken, such as ginger or clove tea with cinnamon, or antiemetic medication. 

  • Headache and abdominal pain

If the pill causes side effects like headaches or abdominal pain, painkillers such as paracetamol or dipyrone are recommended.


While you may not want to get pregnant right now, you might in the future, and taking emergency contraception won't risk that. 

For more clarification of how Postpill works, click on the video below

Are there other contraceptive pills you’d like to recommend? Feel free to do so in the comments section.

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Sanni Muritador
Sanni Muritador
Sanni Muritador is a content writer with years of experience. He started his writing career working for opera news. His hobbies include writing, reading, and playing tennis. I read anything and everything available so I know so many useful and useless things. Want to connect with Sanni Muritador? Reach out to him on Facebook @Muritador Sanni.

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