Emergency Contraception (EC), also known as the morning after pill, is birth control that can be taken after unprotected sex in order to prevent pregnancy. EC prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation, fertilization, or, possibly, implantation. The hormones in EC temporarily disrupt hormone production in the ovaries. This will delay ovulation if it has not already occurred and will make the uterine lining unsuitable for implantation of an egg if fertilization has occurred.
EC will not affect an existing pregnancy and it will not cause an abortion. EC is not the same as RU-486 (Mifepristone), the early option pill that is given to induce a medical abortion after a woman is already pregnant.
EC is most commonly available as a progestin-only medication known as "Plan B One Step". "Plan B One Step" packages include 1 pill which should be taken right away.
EC works best when the first dose is taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex, and have shown to be effective when taken up to 120 hours. The effectiveness of EC increases the sooner it is taken. If it has been more than 120 hours since you've had unprotected sex, call your medical provider for advice. Brown students can call Health Services at 401-863-1330.