What is it?
Emergency contraception, (also known as Plan B®, EC, or the morning after pill), is used after unprotected sex, (NO OTHER BIRTH CONTROL OR condom was used) to prevent pregnancy. The pill can be taken up to 5 DAYS after having unprotected sex. It is less effective each day that goes by, so it is best to take it as soon as possible!
How does it work?
A lot of people think that when someone has sex the sperm reaches the fallopian tubes in seconds or minutes. This is not true. It can take up to five days for the sperm to reach the egg. Emergency contraception works by preventing the egg from being released from the ovary. So, when the sperm arrives, there will be no egg around to connect with or “fertilize.”
Emergency contraception can come in 1 pill or 2 pills. We recommend you can take both pills at once. Even though directions may say to take them 12 hours a part that is harder to do and good research shows that the pills work just as well if you take them together. Newer brands of Emergency contraception now have only one pill, which you should take as soon as possible. A few brands of EC are: Plan B One Step, Next Choice, and Ella.
How well does it work?
It is difficult to tell how effective it is as it depends on a few factors. It depends on when a woman will be ovulating, if she has already ovulated and how many days after sex she takes EC. Try to take it as soon as possible. Some studies say EC is between 75-85% effective – which is better than doing nothing at all.
What are the benefits?
- It is a good second chance to prevent a pregnancy if you had sex with birth control or had problems with your regular method like forgot to use your birth control pill or the condom broke.It
- Emergency Contraception is safe and easy to take
- Can get without a prescription if 17 or older
- EC is a good way to get started with a health care provider to discuss what birth control method is right for you to use in the future.EC
What is the downside?
- Some young women report nausea, irregular vaginal bleeding or headaches after taking emergency contraception. These side effects do not last longer than a day or so. Also, over the counter anti-nausea pills (like Benadryl or Dramamine) can be taken with emergency contraception to reduce the nausea.Some
- Can only be used in an emergency and not as a usual form of birth control
- Does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases or HIV
- EC is not effective if you are already pregnant (and does not harm you if you are already pregnant)
How can I get it?
Emergency contraception is available at the pharmacy for teens over 17 years of age without a prescription. This means you can walk right in to any drugstore and ask for what you need without having to call your doctor or clinic.
How much does it cost?
It often costs over $40, but it is covered by Medicaid, so if you have a Medicaid card, bring that with you to the pharmacy. If you don’t have Medicaid, or if you are younger than 17, Project STAY can help you get what you need. Call us at 646-685-9639. Or you can call 311 to get a list of clinics near you that can help you get Emergency Contraception.