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Emergency Contraception

Also called - Aftera, Fallback Solo, Econtra EZ, Opcicon, My Way, Next Choice One Dose, Plan B One Step, Ella, Preventeza, React and Take Action

What is it?

Emergency contraception, commonly called the morning-after pill or day-after pill, is a high dosage of synthetic hormone. The way emergency contraception works varies based on when it is used within your cycle. Its use can end a pregnancy prior to or shortly after implantation.  Emergency contraception is not always effective in preventing pregnancy.

The morning-after pill is not a form of regular birth control, and the manufacturers advise that it is not intended to be taken on a regular basis. It does not offer lasting protection for any subsequent sexual encounters.

What is the purpose?

Women most commonly seek emergency contraceptives when they fear pregnancy, such as when:

  • A contraceptive method was desired but not used.
  • A contraceptive failure—a condom broke, diaphragm or cervical cap breakage, or a barrier contraceptive slippage.
  • Birth control pills, patches, rings, or injections are started late or dislodged.
  • Failed withdrawal.
  • Expulsion of an IUD or implant.
  • Sexual assault; forced sexual intercourse.

How does it work?

Hormonal emergency contraception works to thin the lining of the uterus and sometimes prevent ovulation. During the time of your cycle when you can conceive, it often fails to act as a contraceptive & acts instead as an abortifacient.

High doses of synthetic hormones may carry health risks. If you have any existing health conditions, be sure to discuss these with your doctor before you buy or take emergency contraception. Side effects of hormonal emergency contraception, which typically last a few days, can include headache, nausea/vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, breast tenderness, changes in menstrual bleeding, and abdominal pain.

If you have noticed any unexpected side effects, such as heavy bleeding, seek medical attention right away.

If you weigh more than 155 lbs, certain types of emergency contraception may not lower your chances of getting pregnant. 

What about a copper IUD?

A Copper IUD (ParaGard T 380A) is a T-shaped intrauterine device also used as emergency contraception. When inserted after ovulation, a copper IUD is  used to prevent implantation of the developing embryo.

Are you considering emergency contraception and need help in your decision?

Contact us today to talk to someone about your concerns.

Does emergency contraception protect against infections and diseases?

Emergency contraception does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Is emergency contraception the same as the abortion pill?

These products are not the same as RU-486, which is the abortion pill.

What if I’ve already used emergency contraception?

If you’ve already taken emergency contraception, do not be alarmed if your period is late or not a normal period for you. Because the lining of the uterus has been temporarily thinned by this drug, sometimes a period is missed or is different.  Also, some women may have spotting or bleeding before their next period. Contact us today if you need a free pregnancy test. 

What should I do next?

After using emergency contraception there is still a chance that a pregnancy could occur. If you have not had a period within three weeks of using emergency contraception, contact us. We are here to help you regardless of your situation. 

Your choices are entirely in your control. We’re glad you started here. Call or chat with us now if you’d like to talk more! 

Whenever you need us, we can help.


American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. (2020). Embryocidal potential of modern contraceptives. Professional Ethics Committee of AAPLOG, 7, 1-29. https://aaplog.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/FINAL-CO-7-Embryocidal-Potential-of-Modern-Contraception-1.20.20.pdf

American Pregnancy Association. (n.d.). How pregnancy occurs. https://americanpregnancy.org/getting-pregnant/how-pregnancy-occurs/

Cleveland Clinic. (2022, July 1). Morning-after pill. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/treatments/23386-morning-after-pill

Drugs.com. (2023, April 10). Emergency contraception: What you need to know. https://www.drugs.com/article/emergency-contraceptive-pill.html

Drugs.com. (2022, November 14). Morning after side effects. https://www.drugs.com/sfx/morning-after-side-effects.html

Drugs.com. (2022, August 22). Paraguard prescribing information. https://www.drugs.com/pro/paragard.html

Mayo Clinic. (2022, June 3). Morning-after pill. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/morning-after-pill/about/pac-20394730

Option Line. (n.d.). Emergency contraception. https://optionline.org/emergency-contraception

U.S. Food & Drug Administration. (2022, December 23). Plan b one-step (1.5 mg levonorgestrel) information. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/postmarket-drug-safety-information-patients-and-providers/plan-b-one-step-15-mg-levonorgestrel-information

Watts, E. (2023, April 14). Birth control with up to 92% lower hormone doses could still be effective. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/birth-control-with-up-to-92-lower-hormone-doses-could-still-be-effective

Whalen, K. & Rose, R. (2012). Ulipristal (ella) for emergency contraception. American Family Physician, 86(4), 365-369. https://www.aafp.org/pubs/afp/issues/2012/0815/p365.html

Workowski, K. A., Bachmann, L. H., Chan, P. A., Johnston, C. M., Muzny, C. A., Park, I., Reno, H., Zenilman, J. M., & Bolan, G. A. (2021). Sexually transmitted infections treatment guidelines, 2021. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR): Recommendations and Reports, 70(4), 1-187.  http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.rr7004a1