If you have had unprotected sex (the condom broke, no contraception used, pills were missed, sex was non-consensual) within the last 5 days, it’s not too late. You can do something to prevent pregnancy.
Emergency Contraception (EC), also called the Morning After Pill or Plan B, is available. EC must be taken within 120 hours, or 5 days, of unprotected sex. EC works best if taken immediately. EC is available at all Rutgers Pharmacies over-the-counter as well as retail pharmacies.
What Is Emergency Contraception?
EC is an elevated dose of progesterone (Plan B) contained in one pill. It prevents pregnancy, just like regular birth control pills, in one of two ways: by stopping an egg from being released, so there is nothing for sperm to fertilize; and by changing the lining of the uterus so an egg can’t attach and grow.
How Effective is EC?
EC is 75-85% effective in preventing pregnancy if taken correctly and in time after unprotected sex. The earlier it is taken the more effective it is.
Where Can I Get EC?
EC is available over-the-counter to people 17 years of age and older, women younger than 17 require a prescription. All Rutgers Pharmacies, in the Hurtado, Busch Livingston and Cook Douglass Health Centers, carry EC at an affordable price.
Are there Side Effects?
Most women tolerate EC relatively well but side effects may include nausea, vomiting, and a delayed or early menstrual period. EC WILL NOT cause an abortion or miscarriage. If you are already pregnant, there is no increased risk to the fetus. If you think you are already pregnant from a previous sexual encounter, take a pregnancy test before you use EC.
What Else Do I Need to Know?
• If you use EC and do not get your period after 3 weeks, take a pregnancy test.
• EC is NOT a consistent form of birth control. Talk with your health care provider about methods of birth control that might work better for you.
• EC will not protect you against STIs (sexually transmitted infections), including HIV. Consistent and correct use of condoms and dentals dams during anal, oral, and vaginal sex is the only effective way, besides abstinence, to help prevent infection with an STI.