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  • Writer's pictureGuest Author

Emergency Contraception - Two Methods You Need to Know After Unprotected Sex

Updated: Apr 29, 2023

By Katie Bennett, CNM

Guest author

Plan B: Take in the first 72 hours after unprotected sex. Less effective if you have a BMI over 25; don’t consider it effective if you have a BMI over 30 or weigh over 155lbs. It’s not gonna hurt; might not help.

Called the "morning-after pill." Plan B contains levonorgestrel and can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex. But you don't have to wait until the morning after sex to take it. In fact, levonorgestrel is more effective the sooner you take it. It works by preventing or delaying ovulation. It will not end a pregnancy.

Ella: Can work up to 5 days post unprotected sex. The better option, except it requires a prescription and is scarce these days. Better than plan B if your BMI is 30-35.

Have a dose on hand all the time.

Like Plan B, Ella (ulipristal), will not stop a pregnancy that has already started and will not protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Remember, it is not available over-the-counter.

BEST emergency contraception: IUDs!

Paragard (copper): up to 5 days after unprotected sex. You can keep it in as a highly effective birth control option for TWELVE YEARS. It doesn’t get less effective at any point. Paragard is made of soft, flexible plastic with a thin layer of copper around the arms and stem. Once in place, you shouldn’t be able to feel it at all. In use for over 30 years, Paragard has a proven safety record.

Mirena/Skyla (hormonal IUD): also up to 5 days post-sex. Highly effective birth control for up to 7 years. Hormonal IUDs have the added benefit of usually decreasing frequency and/or heaviness of periods, and many women prefer Mirena for that reason.

IUD (Getty Image), Marie Claire Magazine


If you can’t access an abortion, you can call Planned Parenthood if you have any questions. To find the closest Planned Parenthood, check the website here. Caution: Please do not try DIY abortion. Call Planned Parenthood, and they will help you make some kind of plan that will keep you safe. Check out the "Chat Now" feature on the site for a fast response.

If you can get someone pregnant, you should have Plan B or Ella on hand, too. Find out where a partner could access IUD placement. HELP YOUR PARTNER.

If you have any doubts about your provider’s stance on the A word, DO NOT SAY IT IS FOR EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION.


By: Karen Herbert

Of course, my friend Katie is sharing this information after Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed S.B. 8, a law that prohibits abortions after six weeks before many even know they are pregnant. While there are challenges to this law, currently providers are following the law. What is chilling is that right-to-life groups are making plans to put similar bans in place in other states.

After severely limiting a pregnant person's rights to safe and legal abortion and to private reproductive control, Abbott demonstrated he doesn't have a grasp of the reproductive system. As Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. explained to Anderson Cooper:

"I'm sorry we have to break down Biology 101 on national television, but in case no one has informed him before in his life, six weeks pregnant means two weeks late for your period," Ocasio-Cortez said. "And two weeks late on your period ... can happen if you're stressed, if your diet changes or for really no reason at all. So you don't have six weeks." (source: NPR)

Your vote is your voice on Reproductive Rights! Contact your state elected officials and let them know that you want them to uphold Roe vs. Wade. This website has contacts for state governors and all other elected officials - click here.

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