Emergency contraception is used to prevent pregnancy. You can use it if you were raped or you had unprotected sex. Or you can use it if you think your birth control didn't work. For example, you may use it if a condom breaks.
If you had sex without birth control, you could get pregnant. This is true even if you have not started your periods yet or are close to menopause.
If you use emergency contraception right away, it can prevent an unwanted pregnancy. It can also keep you from worrying while you wait for your next period.
Do not use emergency contraception pills as your only form of birth control. They do not work as well as other types of birth control. Talk to your doctor about the best kind of regular birth control for you.
Progestin-only emergency contraception pills, such as Plan B or Next Choice, prevent about 74% of expected pregnancies. This means that out of 100 women who may expect to get pregnant, 74 did not.
If you weigh 75 to 80 kg, emergency contraceptive pills may not work as well to prevent a pregnancy. Emergency contraceptive pills will not prevent a pregnancy in women who weigh over 80 kg. Talk with your doctor about methods of emergency contraception that aren't affected by a woman's weight, such as the copper IUD.
NOTE: This information focuses on using progestin-only pills that are packaged specially for use as emergency contraception. These are often called "morning-after pills." Regular birth control pills or a copper IUD can also be used as emergency contraception. But they are not covered in this information.
Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd
Enter Q711 in the search box to learn more about "Learning About Emergency Contraception Pills".
Current as of: March 16, 2017
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
& Rebecca Sue Uranga, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
© 2006-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.