Informational Resources Book of Choices

Soon After Unprotected Sex You Can Still Prevent Pregnancy

If you very recently had unprotected sex or your birth control method failed, you should strongly consider taking emergency contraception if you want to prevent a pregnancy.

Emergency Contraception, also known as EC or the “morning after pill,” is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy up to five days (120 hours) AFTER unprotected sex or birth control failure. Plan B® is the brand name of the EC pills.

  • EC, when used within five days of unprotected sex, can significantly reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy.
  • EC is a higher dosage of the same hormones found in birth control pills. EC is a safe method of pregnancy prevention, even for women who have been advised not to take birth control pills on an ongoing basis.
  • EC is NOT the same thing as the abortion pill (Mifeprex or RU-486). EC will not terminate an existing pregnancy. EC will not work if a woman is already pregnant.
  • EC is less effective than regular birth control, like condoms or birth control pills used before or during sex, so you should not use EC as your regular form of birth control.
  • EC does not protect against sexually transmitted infections such as HIV or AIDS so you should use condoms every time you have sex


EC is effective up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex but is most effective within three days. The sooner you take EC, the more effective it is, so don’t wait!

Take EC as soon as possible after having unprotected sex.

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