Emergency Contraception

If you have unprotected sexual intercourse during or close to ovulation you may want to consider taking emergency contraception, also referred to as the "morning-after" pill or Plan B. There are two types of emergency contraception: 1) Emergency contraceptive pills; and 2) Intrauterine device (IUD).

Emergency contraception does not prevent the fertilization of an egg by a sperm, but rather affects the lining of the uterus so that a fertilized egg can't implant itself. It basically brings on menstruation.

Emergency contraception can be started up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected intercourse. The sooner it is started, the better it works.

You may want to use it if:

-The condom broke or slipped off, and he ejaculated in your vagina.
-You forgot to take your birth control pills, insert your ring, or apply your patch.
-Your diaphragm or cap slipped out of place, and he ejaculated inside your vagina.
-You miscalculated your "safe" days.
-He didn't pull out in time.
-You weren't using any birth control.
-You were forced to have unprotected vaginal sex.

Emergency contraception is an effective option for preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex, but it isn't as effective as other methods of contraception and isn't recommended for routine use. An estimated 1 to 2 out of 100 women who have unprotected sex one time and correctly use emergency contraceptive pills will get pregnant. Only 1 in 1,000 women who have an IUD put in after having unprotected sex will become pregnant.

Vaginal bleeding, cramps, breast tenderness, nausea and headache usually occur within a week after taking the pills but are not sure signs of effectiveness. Normal menstruation should return within 4-6 weeks; if not get a pregnancy test.

IUD placement has risks of pelvic infection or harming the uterus. But these risks are quite rare. If the IUD is left in place to be used as birth control, it can cause side effects such as cramps and heavy bleeding during your period.

If you're age 17 or older, Plan B One-Step and Next Choice are available over-the-counter at most pharmacies. If you are age 16 or younger or want to use Ella, you'll need a prescription from your health care provider.

Emergency contraception does not offer protection from sexually transmitted infections.

It is important to note that the morning-after pill is not the same as RU-486 (Mifepristone), also known as "the abortion pill".


Mayo Clinic

Planned Parenthood

Health, Alcohol, and Drug Education
1500 Neely Avenue
Muncie, Indiana 47306-0817

Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Summer Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Phone: 765-285-3775
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