Emergency Contraception

How It Works

Levonorgestrel, which is known as the “morning after pill” or Plan B, is the most common form of emergency birth control. 1

Morning After Pill

The Morning After Pill is sold as either Plan B One-Step® or Next Choice One Dose® 2. It is taken within 72 hours after having had sex without using any type of birth control or if the birth control method failed. 

  • If a woman is already pregnant, emergency contraception will not work
  • Plan B and Next Choice are not the abortion pill

What it Does

The Morning After Pill works in one of three ways:

  • Prevents an egg from being released (ovulation)
  • Prevents sperm from fertilizing an egg
  • Changes the lining of the uterus to make it harder for a fertilized egg to attach to it 

Note: The Morning After Pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections


1. Office of Women’s Health. (2012, July 16). Emergency contraception (emergency birth control) fact sheet | womenshealth.gov. Retrieved from http://www.womenshealth.gov/publications/our-publications/fact-sheet/emergency-contraception.html#a]

 2.Plan B One-Step. (2015). About Plan B One-Step®. Retrieved from http://planbonestep.com/about.aspx ↩

3. Next Choice. (2014). The Morning After Pill – Emergency Contraception – Next Choice®. Retrieved from http://www.mynextchoiceonedose.com/ ↩






Side Effects

Possible Side Effects of Emergency Contraception:

*Nausea or vomiting




*Breast tenderness 

*Bleeding between periods 

*Heavy Period bleeding



1. Mayo Clinic. (2012, July 16). Emergency Contraception: Possible Side Effects. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/morning-after-pill/about/pac-20394730