Emergency Contraception

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Worried You Might be Pregnant? | What is Emergency Contraception? | Where Can you Get Plan B? | What happens if Health Services is closed?

Worried You Might be Pregnant?

If you have had unprotected sex within the last five (5) days it's not too late. You can do something to prevent an unintended pregnancy.

Emergency contraception (EC) is often called the "morning after pill". It should be taken as soon as possible within five (5) days (120 hours) after unprotected sex or contraception failure. Although recent research indicates that the "Plan B" emergency contraceptive pill is effective for up to 5 days the efficacy is reduced if not taken within the first 24 to 72 hrs. To enhance the efficacy of the emergency contraceptive pill please see your health care provider or pharmacy as soon as possible after unprotected sex.

What is Emergency Contraception?

Just like regular birth control pills, emergency contraception prevents pregnancy in one of two ways, by stopping the egg from being released, so sperm can't fertilize the egg; and by changing the lining of the uterus so a fertilized egg can't attach and grow. EC is 75-85% effective in preventing pregnancy if taken correctly and in time. To increase the efficacy of the emergency contraception it is best to take within the first 24-72 hours after unprotected intercourse. However recent reseach does indicate that it can be effective for up to five (5) days (120 hrs) after unprotected sex.

The two types of EC are Emergency Contraceptive Combination Pills (ECP)-containing estrogen plus progesterone or progestin only pills (also called “Plan B”). Take the two tablets together within 72 hours of unprotected sex and preferably within 12 hours; the sooner you take the ECP the more effective it is.


Last updated: Wednesday, April 21, 2010