Emergency Contraception

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Emergency Contraception is a Second Chance at Birth Control.
Emergency Contraception should be taken as soon as possible, but can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex. EC is not effective if you are already pregnant since it is a contraceptive and cannot terminate an implanted pregnancy. EC will not protect against sexually transmitted infections. EC is not intended to be used as a regular form of birth control. It is meant as a second chance to prevent pregnancy.

Didn't they use to call this the "Morning After Pill"?
Yes. Emergency Contraception has been called the "Morning After Pill" and the "Morning After Treatment". We now refer to it as "Emergency Contraception" or "Plan B" because it can be used for up to 5 days after unprotected sex, not just the "morning after". EC is NOT the same as RU-486, or the abortion pill, which ends an early pregnancy. EC helps prevent pregnancies from occurring.

When Should I Use EC?
There are many occasions when you may need Emergency Contraception including the following:

  • The condom broke or slipped off
  • Forgot to take a birth control pill or was more than 6 hours late taking it and did not use back up
  • The diaphragm or cervical cap slipped out of place or was inserted incorrectly
  • Late for Depo-Provera® shot
  • Pressured or forced to have unprotected sex
  • Sexually assaulted
  • Caught up in the moment and didn't use protection
  • Didn't realize you needed to use protection the first time you had sex

How do they work?
Emergency Contraceptive pills prevent pregnancy primarily by delaying or inhibiting ovulation. There is no evidence to suggest that either of the FDA- approved emergency contraceptive options works after an egg is fertilized.

How Effective Is EC?
Emergency Contraceptive Pills (Plan B One Step®) reduce the risk of pregnancy after unprotected sex by 75%. Recent clinical data also suggests that the sooner EC is taken the more effective it is.

What does a reduced risk of 75% really mean? In simper terms, it translates into this: If 100 women use EC after having unprotected sex, only 2 of them will get pregnant. Without EC, approximately 8 of the 100 women would have become pregnant.

Is EC Safe?
Yes. The United States Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved EC as a safe way to reduce the chance or pregnancy after unprotected sex or failed birth control. They have also approved Plan B One Step® to be sold over the counter to men and women without age restrictions.

Women should not take EC if they have the following:

  • An allergy to any ingredient in EC
  • Current migraine with neurological impairment
  • History of stroke and blood clots
  • Diabetic women should monitor their insulin carefully while taking EC

What Are The Side Effects?
EC may make some women feel sick to their stomach or vomit. Some women may have sore breasts or headaches. These side effects last about one day. EC can also cause some women's periods to come a little early or late. They do not affect a woman's ability to become pregnant in the future.

Where Can I Get EC?
You should be able to get EC (Plan B One Step®) at any pharmacy or grocery store and it should be available on the shelf. You can also purchase Plan B One Step® at the Emma Goldman Clinic any time during our open hours. Monday – Friday between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.

To purchase Plan B One Step® online, please visit the Emma Store.