frequently asked questions
  1. How long after unprotected sex can I take EC?
    Take EC as soon as possible. It is best to take EC within 24 hours of having unprotected sex. EC may work up to five days after sex, but it is more effective if it is taken earlier. Don’t delay!

  2. How effective is EC?
    Over 95% of women who take EC do not become pregnant. Plan B (progestin-only) may be slightly more effective than other types of EC.

  3. How do I use EC?
    EC may require one or two doses, depending on the product. Talk to your pharmacist or doctor.
  4. What if I am late in taking the second dose of EC?
    Taking the second dose a little early or late (two hours early or late, for example) will probably not make a difference in how effective the pills are, but we really do not know for sure.

  5. When should my next period come after I take EC?
    Your next period should come more or less on time. It is more common for your period to be late than to come early because ovulation is delayed in many women. If you don’t get a normal period within three weeks, take a pregnancy test.

  6. Will EC effect my period?
    EC can cause spotting or change the flow, length, and timing of your next period. In most cases this effect is minor. If you don’t get a normal period within three weeks, take a pregnancy test.

  7. How many times can I use EC?
    EC is for emergency use only. For regular, long-term use, other birth control methods, such as "the pill," condoms, and the birth control shot, etc., are more effective than EC to prevent pregnancy.

  8. Does EC protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including HIV/AIDS?
    No, EC will not protect you from STDs, including HIV/AIDS. To protect yourself always use a condom.

  9. Does EC cause an abortion?
    No, Emergency Contraception prevents abortion by preventing pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the National Institutes of Health define pregnancy as starting with implantation of the egg in the uterus. EC will not work after implantation occurs. EC will not interrupt an established pregnancy.
  10. What is the difference between EC and RU-486?
    RU-486 or Mifepristone (Mifeprex) also known as the French abortion pill interrupts an already existing pregnancy (49 days or less counting from the beginning of the last menstrual period) and should not be confused with emergency contraception. In contrast, EC will NOT disrupt an established pregnancy.

  11. Is the “morning-after” pill the same as “emergency contraception (EC)”?
    Yes, the “morning-after” pill and emergency contraception (EC) are the same thing. The term “emergency contraception” is preferred because this method of preventing pregnancy can be used several days after unprotected sex, not just the “morning after.”

  12. Can I get EC if I am under 18?
    The FDA recently decided that women 17 and younger will soon require a prescription to obtain EC. This decision will not impact teens’ ability to obtain EC directly through trained pharmacists in the 9 states that allow it. Read more. Currently all states except Hawaii allow minors of any age to obtain EC without parental consent. In Hawaii, minors 13 year of age and under require parental consent to obtain EC.
    Yes, under state law minors have the right to confidential family planning services (including emergency contraception) without parental consent in states that currently allow EC pharmacy access.

  13. If I am already pregnant, will taking EC harm my baby?
    No, if emergency contraception is mistakenly taken during pregnancy it will not harm the developing fetus. Using EC will not affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant in the future.

  14. What is Plan B?
    Plan B® (levonorgestrel) is a safe and effective form of emergency contraception. Unlike older emergency contraceptive pills that contain both estrogen and progestin, Plan B® (levonorgestrel) contains only progestin. As a result, Plan B causes fewer side effects, like nausea and may be slightly more effective. For more information about Plan B visit

  15. Can I use EC if I am breastfeeding?
    Yes, EC may be used, as there is no evidence of danger to the infant or mother. A single treatment of EC is unlikely to have an important effect on milk quantity or quality. Some hormones may pass into the breast milk, but they are unlikely to affect the infant adversely.

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