Emergency contraception

What Is the Morning After Pill?

The Morning After Pill is a popular name for emergency contraceptive pills or ECPs. When used as directed, ECPs work by preventing or ending a pregnancy. In the U.S., there are three brands of ECPs. These brands are Plan B, Next Choice and Ella. ECPs are not the same as the Abortion Pill, RU-486.

How Does Emergency Contraception Work?

Emergency contraception works in three different ways:

  • Preventing ovulation.
  • Preventing fertilization.
  • Inhibiting implantation. Emergency contraception may alter the natural lining of the uterus which can interfere with the ability of a new embryo to implant in the uterus. If an embryo is unable to implant inside the uterus, a spontaneous abortion may occur.

What to Consider

  • Emergency contraception does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections.
  • The most common side effects in the Plan B clinical trial were nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, and menstrual changes.
  • The manufacturer warns that Plan B® is not recommended for routine use as a contraceptive.
  • If fertilization occurs after unprotected sex, emergency contraception may prevent the new embryo from implanting inside the uterus causing the pregnancy to end.
  • Before using emergency contraceptives, it’s advised that you fully understand how they work and how they can affect your health. Please consult your doctor or call us at The Center.

The Pregnancy Help Center does not dispense or offer referrals for emergency contraception.