Emergency Contraception

Brand names: Plan B, ella, Next Choice

76% Effective
One-time Use

Are there any side effects?

Side effects may include nausea, fatigue, and headache.

Pills taken after unprotected sex to prevent fertilization and pregnancy. To be effective, must be taken as soon as possible but no more than 5 days after unprotected sex. The sooner you take emergency contraception, the more effective it is at preventing pregnancy. Emergency contraception does not work if you are already pregnant. If you are at least 17 years old, you can go to the drug store and ask the pharmacist for emergency contraception. If you are younger than 17, a provider can write you a prescription.


Emergency contraception is a great backup plan when you need it but is not the most effective birth control. If you are trying to prevent pregnancy, consider trying one of the other more effective birth control methods. Read more.

Emergency contraception does protect against HIV and STDs.

Effectiveness based upon typical use.​

© 2016 UChoose

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KnowWhatUWant.org was developed by the Baltimore City Teen Pregnancy Prevention Initiative with additional information provided by the Association of Reproductive Health ProfessionalsBedsiderThe National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, and Planned Parenthood. All birth control photography is property of bedsider.org and used with permission.

Know What U Want is a project of the Baltimore City Health Department and The Family League of Baltimore with the support of Planned Parenthood of Maryland, The Maryland Institute College of Art, New Lens, The Abell Foundation, The Straus Foundation, The David and Barbara B. Hirschhorn Foundation and The Henry and Ruth Blaustein Rosenberg Foundation.