So that happened, and your birth control kind of, well, didn’t. Whether you notice that the condom tore or you forgot to take the Pill this morning, or you got caught up in the moment, EC is a great back up method. EC stops pregnancy before it starts.

EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION (EC) can be taken up to 5 days (or 120 hours) after unprotected sex.

Plan B One-Step EC brand is available without age restrictions to women and men. That means that you do not need a prescription.  Just go to your local pharmacy ( in most states) and get Plan B One-Step over-the-counter – no matter your age. If they do not carry it or you come up against some other unforseen question, visit to find a retailer closest to you.

How to use

Levonogestrel pills, including the brands Plan B One-Step and Next Choice One Dose, are up to 89 percent effective when taken within 72 hours (three days) after unprotected sex and continue to provide protection up to 120 hours.

Another Brand, Ella, is 85 percent effective if taken within 120 hours (five days).

Pregnancy doesn’t happen right after sex. You can prevent pregnancy even after sex. It can take up to six days for the sperm and egg to meet after having sex. EC works by keeping a woman’s ovary from releasing an egg for longer than usual. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join with sperm.

Take EC as soon as possible after unprotected sex. For EC to be most effective, take it up to 120 hours (five days) after unprotected intercourse.


Side Effects

There are no reports of serious side effects. Because EC is a hormonal form of birth control, possible side effects may include: an earlier or later, heavier or lighter period than usual, breast tenderness, dizziness, or headaches, and nausea or vomiting. If you vomit within two hours of taking the pill(s), it won’t be effective and you need to take it again.

Note to Self

You DO NOT need a prescription to get Plan B One Step EC. Costs vary from $30 to $65

Does not protect against STI or HIV.

The ParaGard IUD can also be used as emergency birth control, to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. It can reduce the risk of pregnancy by 99.9 percent if inserted within 120 hours (five days) after unprotected intercourse. Cost can run up   to $900 for IUD insertion, however most health plans cover this form of birth control.