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ella emergency contraception prevents pregnancy up to 5 days after sex. It’s more effective than other morning-after pills, but you need a prescription to get it.

How effective is the ella morning-after pill?

ella lowers your chances of getting pregnant by 85 percent if you take it within 5 days after unprotected sex.

Unlike other morning-after pills, ella doesn’t get less effective as time passes after sex. ella is also more effective than other morning-after pills for people who weigh 155 pounds or more. But if you weigh 195 pounds or more, ella may not work as well for you. To figure out which method is best for you, take our handy EC quiz.

How do I take the ella morning-after pill?

Take ella within 5 days (120 hours) after you have unprotected sex. Simply swallow the tablet the way you would any other pill. Read the instructions that come in the package for more information.

By the way, if you’re breastfeeding, don’t use ella unless you’re OK with pumping and throwing away your milk for 24 hours after taking it.

You can take ella up to 5 days after unprotected sex, and it works just as well on day 1 as it does on day 5. But it’s still a good idea to get it as soon as you can so you make sure to take it within the 5 day window. You need a prescription from a doctor to get ella. You can order ella online with next-day delivery.

If you’re on another method of hormonal birth control (like the pill, ring, patch, or shot), ella is not the best emergency contraception for you — Plan B or a copper IUD are better options.

It’s not a good idea to use ella if you’re on hormonal birth control because it makes them both less effective. If you took ella and use hormonal birth control, wait 6 days after the unprotected sex before using your hormonal birth control. Once you start your method again, use a backup (like a condom) for 7 days.  

If you took ella and want to start using a new hormonal birth control method, wait 6 days after you had unprotected sex before you start using the new method.

Take a pregnancy test if you don’t get your period within 3 weeks after taking ella.

If you take ella and you end up needing emergency contraception again before your next period, make sure you take ella again and not Plan B or other levonorgestrel morning-after pills.

Does ella have side effects?

ella is super safe, and side effects aren’t common. There have been no reports of any serious complications from taking ella.

After you take ella, it's totally normal for your next period to be different from what you’re used to. It may come earlier or later, and be heavier, lighter, or more spotty. Or, it may be the same as it normally is.

This isn’t common, but you may get an upset stomach when you take the morning-after pill. If you throw up within 2 hours of taking ella, it won’t work and you’ll need to take it again.

Where can I get ella?

You need a prescription to get ella. There are a few different ways you can get a prescription and get ella quickly.

  • The easiest way to get ella is online. You can get a fast medical consultation and prescription with next-day delivery through this website. It costs $90 — this price includes the medical consultation and shipping.

  • You may be able to get a prescription for ella by calling your nurse or doctor, like your gynecologist. You can ask if they’ll send the prescription straight to your local pharmacy without needing you to come in for an appointment. 

  • You can get ella, or a prescription for ella, from your local Planned Parenthood health center. You may also be able to get it from your local health department or another family planning clinic.

  • Depending on the state you live in, you may be able to get a prescription directly from your pharmacist, without seeing a doctor or visiting a health center. Call the drugstore or pharmacy first, to make sure they can write you a prescription and that they have ella in stock.

ella usually costs about $50 or more at the pharmacy or drugstore, but it might be totally free if you have health insurance. Under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), most insurance plans must cover prescription birth control and doctor’s visits that are related to birth control. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health insurance provider for more information about using insurance to pay for ella.

You may be able to get ella for free or low cost from a Planned Parenthood health center, your local health department, or another family planning clinic. Call your nearest health center to find out if they can hook you up with emergency contraception that fits your budget. The staff at your local Planned Parenthood health center can also help you figure out if your insurance will pay for your morning-after pill.

Because timing is super important when it comes to the morning-after pill and it may take a while to get a prescription, call your doctor or your local Planned Parenthood health center as soon as you can. 

If you want to plan ahead and get ella before you need it, you can also ask your nurse or doctor for a prescription for ella the next time you have an appointment. You can keep it in your medicine cabinet and it will be there for you, just in case. That way you can take it as soon as possible if an accident happens, and you won’t have to worry about getting a prescription when you’re totally stressed out.

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