ZocdocAnswersCan my girlfriend take the morning after pill after 3 days?

Question

Can my girlfriend take the morning after pill after 3 days?

I heard its still effective in 120 hours. Do you think she should take it? We're up to 77 hours

Answer

You are right that the guidelines advise taking the pill within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse, but there does seem to be some efficacy to up to 120 hours (5 days). However, you should know that these medications are not 100% effective. The risk at any given time of getting pregnant ranges from 0-30% depending on the woman's menstrual cycle. Levonorgestrel, marketed under the name Plan B One-Step, reduces the risk to 2-3% (preventing about 50% of pregnancies that would otherwise occur). Another drug called ulipristal prevents about two thirds of pregnancies, and a copper IUD will actually prevent over 95% of pregnancies. The efficacy of these drugs can also vary depending on the person's weight and timing within the menstrual cycle. In general, most doctors recommend taking the medication up to 120 hours; however, given the range of options you really should call your doctor and discuss which, if any of these options, would be the most appropriate. Also, as a general rule, safe sexual practices are much preferred in terms of preventing unwanted pregnancies and avoiding sexually transmitted diseases. You should try to wear a condom during intercourse and discuss other forms of birth control with your girlfriend. If you are having unprotected sex, both you and your girlfriend should be checked for sexually transmitted diseases and HIV. As above, discussing these issues with your doctor will be most beneficial.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.