Emergency contraception, also known as “the morning after pill” or “EC,” can be used up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse (depending on the method you select). Emergency contraception works either by keeping a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs (“emergency contraception pills”) or by affecting the way sperm moves so they can’t join with an egg (copper IUD). Emergency contraception is used to prevent pregnancy; it’s not the “abortion pill.” If you are already pregnant, emergency contraception will not work.Additional Information about Emergency Contraception
At Planned Parenthood of Michigan, we offer three different emergency contraception options.
Option 1: Plan B or EContra EZ (Levonorgestrel)
- Effective for up to 3 days after unprotected intercourse. (Less effective the longer you wait. No longer considered effective after 3 days.)
- Levonorgestrel is most effective for women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) that is less than 25. It is not effective for women who have a BMI of 30 or more.
- Levonorgestrel is most effective when taken as soon as possible after unprotected intercourse.
- No office visit necessary.
- Safe to take while breast feeding.
- Can be taken more than once in a menstrual cycle, but may be less effective if taken after Ella in the same cycle.
Levonorgestrel is available at all of our health centers without a prescription. That means that you can walk in anytime our health centers are open and pick up Levonorgestrel over the counter.
Option 2: Ella (Ulipristal Acetate)
- Effective for up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse, with no decrease in effectiveness. Ella is just as effective if taken on day 1 or day 5 after unprotected intercourse.
- Most effective for women with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or less. It is not effective for women who have a BMI of 35 and more.
- Office visit is necessary for a prescription.
- If taken while breast feeding, "pump and dump" is required for 36 hours.
- Should not be taken more than once in a menstrual cycle. Can be taken after Plan B in same cycle.
Ella is the newest emergency contraception pill. It is available by prescription (office visit required). The good news is that once you’ve established yourself as a patient with us, you can walk in anytime our health centers are open and pick up Ella over the counter for the duration of the prescription.
We are one of the only providers in the state that regularly stocks Ella. As timing is of the essence with emergency contraception, we want to ensure our patients have access to emergency contraception when they need it. Ella is not routinely stocked by pharmacies; many pharmacies are able to order Ella, which could mean a one- or two-day delay.
Option 3: Paragard IUD
- Effective for up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse, with no decrease in effectiveness. Paragard is just as effective if inserted on day 1 or day 5 after unprotected intercourse.
- Effective for women regardless of their Body Mass Index (BMI).
- Office visit required.
- Safe while breast feeding.
- Effective as birth control for up to 12 years.
Paragard is the most effective emergency contraception option. An office visit with a clinician is required to insert the device. Paragard is also one of the most effective long acting, reversible birth control methods. Once inserted, it is an effective method of birth control for up to 12 years (or as long as you choose).
What is BMI?
Body Mass Index (BMI) is a measure of a person’s body fat based on height and weight. BMI is important when selecting an emergency contraception method as research studies have found that certain methods are more effective when a woman’s BMI falls within a given range.