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What Are the Best Methods of Emergency Contraception?

  1. Top of page
  2. EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION
  3. What is Emergency Contraception?
  4. What Are the Best Methods of Emergency Contraception?
  5. How Does Emergency Contraception Work?
  6. I Don't Have Sex Very Often. Can I Use Emergency Contraception Instead of Regular Birth Control?
  7. Is Emergency Contraception Safe?
  8. Are There Any Side Effects of Emergency Contraception?
  9. How Do I Get Emergency Contraception if I am 18 years old or older?
  10. How Do I Get Emergency Contraception if I am under age 18?
  11. How Do I Take the Emergency Contraception Pills?
  12. MAKING EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION WORK FOR YOU
  13. How to Use Birth Control Pills for Emergency Contraception
  14. FOR MORE INFORMATION

There are two methods of emergency contraception available in the United States. The most common is the emergency contraception pill (ECP). ECPs contain hormones like the hormones in birth control pills. The other method of emergency contraception is having an intrauterine device (IUD) put in, which is very effective (99%) in stopping pregnancy. An IUD may cost a lot of money depending on your insurance coverage, and the IUD has to be put in by a health care provider. This handout will tell you about ECPs.

How Do I Take the Emergency Contraception Pills?

  1. Top of page
  2. EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION
  3. What is Emergency Contraception?
  4. What Are the Best Methods of Emergency Contraception?
  5. How Does Emergency Contraception Work?
  6. I Don't Have Sex Very Often. Can I Use Emergency Contraception Instead of Regular Birth Control?
  7. Is Emergency Contraception Safe?
  8. Are There Any Side Effects of Emergency Contraception?
  9. How Do I Get Emergency Contraception if I am 18 years old or older?
  10. How Do I Get Emergency Contraception if I am under age 18?
  11. How Do I Take the Emergency Contraception Pills?
  12. MAKING EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION WORK FOR YOU
  13. How to Use Birth Control Pills for Emergency Contraception
  14. FOR MORE INFORMATION

The easiest ECP to use is Plan B. Plan B is a small packet that contains two little pills. You take one, and then the second one 12 hours later. If it is easier, you can take both pills at one time instead of taking the second pill 12 hours later. Both methods work. You can also use regular birth control pills for emergency contraception and the chart below tells you how to use each brand of pill.

MAKING EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION WORK FOR YOU

  1. Top of page
  2. EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION
  3. What is Emergency Contraception?
  4. What Are the Best Methods of Emergency Contraception?
  5. How Does Emergency Contraception Work?
  6. I Don't Have Sex Very Often. Can I Use Emergency Contraception Instead of Regular Birth Control?
  7. Is Emergency Contraception Safe?
  8. Are There Any Side Effects of Emergency Contraception?
  9. How Do I Get Emergency Contraception if I am 18 years old or older?
  10. How Do I Get Emergency Contraception if I am under age 18?
  11. How Do I Take the Emergency Contraception Pills?
  12. MAKING EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION WORK FOR YOU
  13. How to Use Birth Control Pills for Emergency Contraception
  14. FOR MORE INFORMATION

How to Use Plan B for Emergency Contraception

Step #1: Take your first dose of Plan B as soon as you can after you have sex. It works better that way. You can take the first dose up to 5 days after you have sex, but the sooner you take the pill, the more likely you are to prevent pregnancy.

Step #2: Take your second dose of Plan B 12 hours after the first dose.

Step #3: If your period doesn't come in 3 weeks, get a pregnancy test.

With Plan B, it is OK to take both pills at the same time, if you are worried that you might not be able to take two pills 12 hours apart.

How to Use Birth Control Pills for Emergency Contraception

  1. Top of page
  2. EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION
  3. What is Emergency Contraception?
  4. What Are the Best Methods of Emergency Contraception?
  5. How Does Emergency Contraception Work?
  6. I Don't Have Sex Very Often. Can I Use Emergency Contraception Instead of Regular Birth Control?
  7. Is Emergency Contraception Safe?
  8. Are There Any Side Effects of Emergency Contraception?
  9. How Do I Get Emergency Contraception if I am 18 years old or older?
  10. How Do I Get Emergency Contraception if I am under age 18?
  11. How Do I Take the Emergency Contraception Pills?
  12. MAKING EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION WORK FOR YOU
  13. How to Use Birth Control Pills for Emergency Contraception
  14. FOR MORE INFORMATION

If you are going to use birth control pills for emergency contraception you have to take two doses.

Step #1: The number of pills listed in the table below is one dose. It is important that you take the right color of pill.

Step #2: Take the same number of the same color pills 12 hours after the first dose.

Step #3: If your period doesn't come in 3 weeks, get a pregnancy test.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

  1. Top of page
  2. EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION
  3. What is Emergency Contraception?
  4. What Are the Best Methods of Emergency Contraception?
  5. How Does Emergency Contraception Work?
  6. I Don't Have Sex Very Often. Can I Use Emergency Contraception Instead of Regular Birth Control?
  7. Is Emergency Contraception Safe?
  8. Are There Any Side Effects of Emergency Contraception?
  9. How Do I Get Emergency Contraception if I am 18 years old or older?
  10. How Do I Get Emergency Contraception if I am under age 18?
  11. How Do I Take the Emergency Contraception Pills?
  12. MAKING EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION WORK FOR YOU
  13. How to Use Birth Control Pills for Emergency Contraception
  14. FOR MORE INFORMATION

Planned Parenthood

1-800-230-PLAN (1-800-230-7526)

Emergency Contraception Web site

1-888-not2late (1-800-668-2-5283)

This page may be reproduced for noncommercial use by health care professionals to share with clients. Any other reproduction is subject to JMWH approval. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JMWH suggests that you consult your health care provider.