Morning After Pill

Emergency Contraception is often referred to as “The Morning After Pill,” but actually is a dosage of a few pills combined. This form of birth control is used in the event of unprotected sexual intercourse, in the cases of sexual assault and rape or in the event that another type of birth control has failed.

The Facts:

  • Emergency contraception is 75% -89% effective if taken within the first 72 hours after intercourse has occurred. If 100 woman have one act of sexual intercourse during their most fertile time, 8 will become pregnant. If emergency contraception is used, 2 or fewer will become pregnant. This method is most effective the earlier it is taken.
  • Emergency contraception can work in 1 of 3 ways: by preventing ovulation, inhibiting fertilization, or by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting into the uterus wall.
  • Emergency contraception is available by prescription only and prices range from $15-$100 depending on if an appointment is necessary.
  • Emergency contraception is high doses of certain types of the birth control pill, made up of estrogen and progestin or progestin only. The prescription normally is for either Preven or Plan B, both products that have been developed specifically for the use of emergency contraception. The first dose of pills is taken as soon as possible followed by another dose 12 hours later.
  • Emergency contraception is not as effective as other uses of contraception and should not be used as replacement of other methods.

Risks/Side effects:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Can affect the next menstrual cycle by making it earlier or later, or causing blood flow to be different than normal
  • Not recommended for woman who are already pregnant but no studies have shown that any harm is done to the developing fetus if this method fails.

“Emergency Contraception,” The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. 2000.
“Emergency Contraception,” The United States Food and Drug Administration. 2000.

Last updated: 12/2006