Emergency Contraception

You get caught up in the heat of the moment and have sex without contraception. Maybe the condom breaks, you forgot to take your regular birth control, or worst case, you were sexually assaulted. Regardless how it happens, unprotected vaginal intercourse can cause unplanned pregnancy. This can be a scary experience, but Southwestern Public Health can help with something called emergency contraception (EC).

What is it?

  • Emergency contraception is a pill that women can take to prevent a pregnancy from happening
  • Southwestern Public Health stocks a brand of EC called Plan B
  • Plan B can be used up to 5 days after unprotected sex, but the sooner it is taken the more effective it is
    • 95% effective if taken within the first 24 hours after sex
    • 85% effective if taken 25-48 hours after sex
    • Less than 58% effective if taken between 72-120 hours after sex
    • Emergency contraception is not effective if already pregnant
    • Effectiveness is decreased if a woman is over 165 pounds

Where can I get it?

Plan B is available at low cost from the Sexual Health clinic or is available for purchase at pharmacies. Mifegymiso (the abortion pill) is also available at pharmacies with a prescription at no extra cost. 
Talk to a sexual health nurse for more information. 

Learn more 

Last Updated: August 8, 2018
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