Emergency Contraception Pills (ECP) are a method of preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex. ECPs are most effective when taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex but can still be effective if taken up to five days later. It has been found that if ECPs are taken with 72 hours after having unprotected sex the risk of pregnancy is reduced by 89%.
ECPs contain higher doses of hormones than are found in regular birth control pills. They work by preventing the egg from leaving the ovary and the sperm from joining the egg. ECPs do not keep fertilized eggs from attaching to the uterus, and they are not effective if taken after a woman is already pregnant. In the US, there are two FDA-approved ECP, Plan B and ella. Plan B is available over the counter from your local pharmacy for women 17 and older, and can be obtained with a prescription for women 16 and younger. Ella can only be obtained with a prescription. Contact Atlanta Women’s Center for additional information or for assistance in obtaining a prescription.