How often can you take the morning after pill?

Dr Kathryn Basford

Medically reviewed by

Dr Kathryn Basford

Last reviewed: 21 Mar 2022

The morning after pill is a type of emergency contraception that you can take after unprotected sex. In an ideal situation, you should not use it more often than once a month. It’s also more cost effective and convenient to use another form of contraception in the long term.


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How many times can you take the morning after pill?

You can take the morning after pill once after you have had unprotected sex. Inside a pack of the morning after pill, such as Levonelle or EllaOne, there is 1 tablet that works to prevent pregnancy.

If you have unprotected sex again after you take the morning after pill, it will not prevent you from getting pregnant.

The morning after pill is not designed to be used as regular contraception. If you take the morning after pill more than twice a month, you should consider a suitable form of contraception, such as birth control pills.

How many times can you take the morning after pill in a month?

You should take the morning after pill only once in a month if you’ve had unprotected sex.

Levonelle can be taken more than once during your menstrual cycle, but this can cause irregular periods. EllaOne can also be offered more than once per cycle.

If you have unprotected sex after you have taken the morning after pill, this dose will not work as contraception. You will need to take another dose to cover yourself for the second time you have unprotected sex. This may affect your next period, and you will need to wait until your next cycle to check that you are not pregnant.

How many times can you take the morning after pill in a week?

The morning after pill can be taken again in the same week if it is needed. This may need to be the same type of morning after pill, but if you are unsure you can message one of our doctors.

Taking more than 1 morning after pill in the same week can cause side effects, like making you feel sick, vomiting or vaginal bleeding. Regular use of the morning after pill can also affect your periods.

If you are having regular sex you can consider using another form of contraception like birth control pills, patches or implants. These are designed to be used effectively long term and will be safer for your body.

How soon after unprotected sex should I take the morning after pill?

You should take the morning after pill as soon as possible after you’ve had unprotected sex. Both morning after pills, Levonelle or EllaOne, are most effective in preventing pregnancy if you take them within 24 hours.

EllaOne can be taken within 120 hours (5 days) of unprotected sex, whereas Levonelle is effective within 72 hours (3 days).

Both Levonelle and EllaOne work by preventing your ovaries from releasing an egg during a process called ovulation. Ovulation usually happens a couple of weeks before your period is due.

The morning after pill works best before ovulation. If you take the pill after you have finished ovulating, it may not be effective in preventing pregnancy. In this case, you should find another type of emergency contraception, such as an IUD (intrauterine device).

Sometimes your contraceptive methods do not work as well as you’d like them to, like if a condom breaks. You can request the morning after pill in advance from Asda Online Doctor to have on hand just in case.

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Medically reviewed by:
Dr Kathryn Basford

Dr Kathryn Basford is a qualified GP who works as a GP in London, as well as with ZAVA. She graduated from the University of Manchester and completed her GP training through Whipps Cross Hospital in London.

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Article created: 26 Nov 2021

Last reviewed: 21 Mar 2022

(Reviews are for ZAVA UK)

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