Go to Content Go to Navigation Go to Navigation Go to Site Search Homepage

Plan B and Other Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception, commonly referred to as “the morning-after pill,” is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy up to 5 days after unprotected sex or if you forget to take your birth control.

Emergency contraception can stop a pregnancy before it starts. The sooner you take it, the higher your chances are to prevent pregnancy.

Planned Parenthood is Cheaper Than Pharmacies

While emergency contraception is available at most pharmacies, buying emergency contraception at Planned Parenthood is more affordable. And since the morning-after pill works better the sooner you take it, it’s a good idea to buy it BEFORE you need it. You can keep it in your medicine cabinet, and it will be there just in case.

The morning-after pill might also be totally free if you have health insurance or Medicaid. Call us for more information about using insurance to pay for emergency contraception.

Plan B

Plan B only costs $40 at Planned Parenthood. No appointment is necessary – you can just walk in and purchase it – and there are no age or ID requirements.


ella, another form of emergency contraception, costs $40 at Planned Parenthood. It is not available over the counter, so you will need to see a clinician to get a prescription to buy it.

Looking for a bundled deal?

For $20, a pregnancy prevention pack includes lubricant, condoms, a pregnancy test, and emergency contraception, valued at more than $50 and selling for less than half the price at your nearest Planned Parenthood. No appointment needed.

How Effective Is Emergency Contraception?

There are a few different kinds of emergency contraception. The most effective type for you depends on a few factors, like when you had sex, how much you weigh, what medications you take, and whether you’re breastfeeding.

No matter what kind of emergency contraception you use, take it as soon as possible after unprotected sex.

Plan B

Plan B (One Step) is the most common form of emergency contraception. It is available without a prescription.

  • Plan B can lower your chance of getting pregnant by 75-89% if you take it within 3 days after unprotected sex.
  • You can technically take it up to 5 days after unprotected sex, but the longer you wait, the less effective it is.
  • Plan B works best on people who weigh less than 165 pounds.
  • If you’re breastfeeding, you don’t have to pump and throw away your milk.

The newest form of emergency contraception in the U.S., ella, is available by prescription only.

  • ella is just as effective on the fifth day as it is on the first and can lower your chances of getting pregnant by 85%.
  • It works better than other morning-after pills for people who weigh more than 165 pounds and less than 195 pounds.
  • If you’re breastfeeding, only use ella if you’re OK with pumping and throwing away your milk for the next 24 hours.
  • Some medications or supplements can affect how well ella works, so be sure to tell your nurse or doctor about any medications you’re taking when you get your prescription for ella.
Did you know an Intrauterine Device (IUD) is the most effective emergency contraception there is?

Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) inserted within 5 days of unprotected sex, can lower your chance of pregnancy by 99.9%. That means they are the most effective form of emergency contraception out there. Learn more about IUDs here.


Emergency Contraception Side Effects

Emergency contraception is super safe, and side effects aren’t common. There have been no reports of serious problems out of the millions of people who have taken it.

You may get an upset stomach, feel lightheaded or dizzy, or have tender breasts for a short while when you take the morning-after pill.

Take a pregnancy test if you haven’t gotten your period within 3 weeks after taking emergency contraception.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Plan B or other emergency contraception the same thing as the abortion pill?

No, emergency contraception is not the abortion pill. Emergency contraception does not end a pregnancy. It stops a pregnancy before it starts, which is why it’s important to take it as soon as you can after having unprotected sex.

To learn more about the difference between the morning-after pill and the abortion pill, watch this short video.

I’ve heard emergency contraception does not work if you have a higher BMI. Is that true?

Plan B can be less effective if you have a higher BMI, so that’s when ella may be a better option for you. But if you weigh 195 pounds or more, ella won't work as well for you.

To figure out which method is best for you, take the Planned Parenthood EC quiz.

Does emergency contraception affect fertility?

No. Emergency contraception will not affect long-term fertility.

Can I start using my birth control again after taking emergency contraception?

If you need emergency contraception because there was a slip up with your birth control pill, ring, or patch, you can start using your regular method again right after you take it. However, if you were using your birth control for less than a week when you made a mistake or were more than 7 days late on your pill/ring/patch when you took emergency contraception, things might be different for you.

Contact a Planned Parenthood clinician before restarting your birth control method to learn more.  

Will emergency contraception delay or change my period?

After taking the morning-after pill, 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 spottier. Or it may be the same as it normally is.

Does emergency contraception protect against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)?

No. Emergency contraception does not protect against STIs following unprotected sex.

Should I keep emergency contraception on hand?

Yes! Since the morning-after pill works best the sooner you take it, it’s a good idea to buy it BEFORE you need it.  That way you can take it as soon as possible if an accident happens, and you don’t have to worry about buying it within the 5-day window.


This website uses cookies

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors use cookies and other tools to collect, store, monitor, and analyze information about your interaction with our site to improve performance, analyze your use of our sites and assist in our marketing efforts. You may opt out of the use of these cookies and other tools at any time by visiting Cookie Settings. By clicking “Allow All Cookies” you consent to our collection and use of such data, and our Terms of Use. For more information, see our Privacy Notice.

Cookie Settings

Planned Parenthood cares about your data privacy. We and our third-party vendors, use cookies, pixels, and other tracking technologies to collect, store, monitor, and process certain information about you when you access and use our services, read our emails, or otherwise engage with us. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences, or your device. We use that information to make the site work, analyze performance and traffic on our website, to provide a more personalized web experience, and assist in our marketing efforts. We also share information with our social media, advertising, and analytics partners. You can change your default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of required cookies when utilizing our site; this includes necessary cookies that help our site to function (such as remembering your cookie preference settings). For more information, please see our Privacy Notice.



We use online advertising to promote our mission and help constituents find our services. Marketing pixels help us measure the success of our campaigns.



We use qualitative data, including session replay, to learn about your user experience and improve our products and services.



We use web analytics to help us understand user engagement with our website, trends, and overall reach of our products.