Can the Morning-after Pill Fail? [What to Know]

If you took the morning-after pill because your regular contraception failed, you might be wondering, “Can the morning-after pill fail?”   

Yes, it can. Unfortunately, no form of contraception is 100% effective.  

Common morning-after pills such as Plan B and Ella work by preventing or reducing the probability of an egg being released from your ovaries, and by decreasing the probability of implantation, by changing your uterine lining. However, there’s no way to know for sure when the pill will and won’t work. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you read your morning-after pill’s instructions and follow them as best as you can. 

If you’re asking “Can you still get pregnant with the morning-after pill?” you’re probably feeling anxious about the potential of an unplanned pregnancy, and that’s OK. You’re not alone, and you have options available to you if the morning-after pill doesn’t work for you. 

If you have concerns about the effectiveness of the morning-after pill, reach out to your healthcare provider. 

Can You Get Pregnant After Taking the Morning-after Pill? 

There are factors that affect the morning-after pill fail rate. If the morning-after pill is taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex or contraception failure, your risk of pregnancy is only reduced by 87%. Even if you take it within 24 hours, it’s still only 95% effective. 

Those are good odds, but they’re not perfect. 

The morning-after pill is most effective in people with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 or less. It’s considerably less effective for women with a BMI of 30 or more. If your BMI is more than 25, that doesn’t mean that the pill is guaranteed to fail, but it will be less effective. You will also be more at risk of pregnancy if you take the pill during or after ovulation. 

If you haven’t gotten your period within three weeks of taking the pill, you should take a pregnancy test to determine whether or not you are pregnant. If your test is positive, you can take a second test to be sure that it wasn’t a false positive, or see your doctor to confirm your pregnancy. 

Your Unplanned Pregnancy Options 

If you are still pregnant after taking the morning-after pill, you might be feeling overwhelmed or unsure of where to turn. Many women have been in your shoes before. Unplanned pregnancies are unpredictable, but there are options available to you if the morning-after pill does not work for you.  


There have been many birth mothers before you who have answered the question of “Can you still get pregnant after the morning-after pill?” with their own personal experience of an unplanned pregnancy. If you’re still pregnant after the morning-after pill and know that you don’t want to parent and don’t want to terminate your pregnancy, adoption could be the best choice you ever make. 

You may have heard phrases such as “’ give your baby up for adoption,” but adoption couldn’t be further from “giving up.” You are making a brave and selfless choice as a birth parent to give your little one an amazing life with a loving adoptive family who has been longing for a child. 

When you adopt through a licensed adoption agency, you will have access to all sorts of helpful services and resources such as: 

  • 24/7 counseling. The emotions of an unplanned pregnancy and adoption can be a lot to cope with. There are adoption counselors available 24/7 to listen and talk you through the feelings you are experiencing. 
  • Financial assistance. As a prospective birth mother, adoption is completely free to you. You won’t have to spend a dime. Many adoption agencies offer financial assistance to expectant mothers that will cover your pregnancy costs and living expenses throughout the adoption process. 
  • The right adoptive familyNational adoption agencies work with prospective adoptive parents all over the country, which means you will be able to find the perfect family for your baby. 
  • Complete control over your adoption plan. You will be in control of every detail of your adoption plan. Your adoption professional will help you create it, but you get to call the shots.  
  • And more. 

You will have the opportunity to stay in touch with your child and their adoptive family if you so choose through open adoption. Open adoptions allow for post placement contact through: 

  • Phone call and texts 
  • Emails 
  • Photos 
  • Video chats 
  • In-person visits 

If you’re still pregnant after the morning-after pill and don’t feel ready or able to parent the child at this point in your life, adoption can be a great choice. Reach out to an adoption professional to get more information about the benefits of adoption. 


If you took the morning-after pill and still became pregnant, you might be overwhelmed by the idea of carrying a baby for nine months. If you don’t want to be pregnant or experience childbirth, abortion might be an option for you. 

How far along you wait to get your abortion and your state’s laws will determine whether or not you are able to terminate your pregnancy. Most states have a maximum number of weeks you can be into your pregnancy and still terminate. 

Many women experience feelings of guilt, grief and loss following their abortion. These emotions are normal and may fade, but the emotional impact of your abortion can stay with you for a significant amount of time. Even so, over 90% of women do not regret their abortion decision. 


Chances are if you took the morning-after pill, you are doing so because you aren’t ready to or don’t want to parent, or you already have children and are not in a position to parent another. Even if you don’t want to parent right now, it is an option for you if change your mind during your pregnancy. 

Parenthood is a rewarding journey but comes with an immense amount of responsibility. Parenting is a huge time, financial and emotional commitment and isn’t a decision that should be made lightly. 

What’s Next? 

Even though the answer to the question “Can the morning-after pill fail?” may not be what you want to hear, you never have to parent if you don’t want to. You have unplanned pregnancy options available to you, and you can choose adoption at any point.  

To get more information about your unexpected pregnancy options, reach out to an adoption professional today. Even if adoption isn’t for you, they can provide you with unbiased, free information. 

About the Author

Lindsay Arielle has been a proud birth mother since placing her son for adoption in 2011. Her post-placement agreement has always been an open adoption. She loves the time she gets to spend with her son and his parents during visits. Lindsay truly believes that for herself and her family, adoption has been a blessing, and she enjoys writing about spiritual healing for birth mothers.

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