Emergency Contraception

The Morning-After Pill

Emergency contraception prevents pregnancy after sex, which is why it is sometimes called “the morning after pill,” “the day after pill,” or “morning after contraception.” You can use emergency contraception right away – or up to five days (120 hours) after sex – if you think your birth control failed, you didn’t use contraception, or you were made to have sex against your will. We offer emergency contraception over the counter and without an appointment. Please bring a photo ID.

Emergency contraception makes it much less likely you will get pregnant. But emergency contraceptives are not as effective as birth control that’s used regularly or condoms used during sex. Also, emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections, like HIV. For help choosing the best regular birth control method for you, try these free online tools: Bedsider or Method Match (from ARHP).

In the U.S., progestin-only EC is available on the shelf without age restrictions to women and men. Look for Plan B One-Step, Take Action, Next Choice One-Dose, My Way or other generics in the Family Planning aisle. These contain 1.5 mg of levonorgestrel in just one pill, which you take as soon as possible after sex. Research shows that you can use emergency contraception up to 120 hours after sex, although it is best to take it as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse.

Emergency contraceptive pills, regardless of type, appear to be significantly less effective for people who are clinically obese (defined as a body mass index, or BMI, of 30 or greater). Emergency contraceptive, however, appears to decline in efficacy as BMI increases (starting at a BMI of 26 or greater). To calculate your BMI, please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. This calculator provides BMI and the corresponding BMI weight status category. Use this calculator for adults, 20 years and older. For children and teens, 2 through 19 years old, use the BMI Calculator for Children and Teens.