What Works/What Doesn’t

Preventing Pregnancy

Emergency Contraceptive


It is not a regular method of birth control, but emergency contraception can be used up to five days after unprotected sex, or if your birth control method failed (for example a condom broke). The sooner it’s started the better it works.

Success Rate

If taken within 3 days of unprotected sex, it reduces your chance of getting pregnant by 89%. It is more effective the sooner it is taken.

The Perks

It can reduce the chance that a woman will get pregnant if she has unprotected sex or if another method of protection failed.

Drag Factor

Doesn’t protect against STDs including HIV. May cause nausea. If a woman does not get her period within 3 weeks, she should take a pregnancy test.

How To Get It

If you are 17 or older, you can buy emergency contraception at most drugstores or family planning clinics; costs $10 to $70. If you are 16 or younger, you can get it from your health care provider.

Condoms, when used consistently and correctly, are the ONLY method that protects sexually active people from both STDs and pregnancy.