Chances are, you’ve heard of the “Morning After Pill”. Though we do not recommend the use of emergency contraception, we would like to explain how it works so you can make an informed decision about whether or not to take it.


There are two common types of emergency contraception, Plan B One-Step and Ella.


Plan B and Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel) is a synthetic progestin medication used for emergency contraception after unprotected sex or known/suspected contraception failure. It is intended to be used within 72 hours of intercourse but is much more effective if taken within 24 hours [1].


Plan B’s main function is to prevent ovulation. If an egg is released, its next function is to impede a woman’s egg from meeting with sperm. If this does occur, its last fail-safe is to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg making this drug an abortifacient (causing an abortion). It is not effective if implantation has already occurred. Plan B does come with side effects just like any other drug. After taking it, you can experience nausea, vomiting, dizziness, headache, fatigue, and abdominal cramping among. Since you are flushing your body with synthetic hormones, it is likely you will experience changes and irregularities in your menstrual cycle [2].


Ella (ulipristal acetate) is another common emergency contraception. Like Plan B, it is intended to be used after unprotected sex or contraception failure. Unlike Plan B, it is effective for 120 hours (5 days) instead of just 72 hours (3 days) after intercourse. It acts in the same way, delaying ovulation to prevent fertilization or, if fertilization has already occurred, preventing implantation in the uterus. The second function makes this drug an abortifacient as well. However, this drug should not be taken if pregnancy is suspected or confirmed [3].


If you have had unprotected sex or contraception failure, we would be happy to work with you and provide free pregnancy testing, options consultations, and advocacy.

[1] Physician’s Desk Reference. (2016).  Plan B Onestep® (levonogestrel) – Drug Summary. Retrieved January 27, 2018, from http://www.pdr.net/drug-summary/plan-b-onestep?druglabelid=573&id=1542

[2] Teva Women’s Health, Inc. (2015, December). Plan B Onestep® Side Effects. Retrieved January 27, 2018, from http://www.planbonestep.com/FAQ.aspx

[3] Ella (Emergency Contraceptive). (2018). Retrieved January 27, 2018, from https://www.drugs.com/ella.html