Center for Young Women's Health

Making Healthy Sexual Decisions:

Emergency Contraception


 Intro current guideEmergency Contraception
 Talking With Your Partner  Sexual Orientation
 Getting Advice & What to Ask  Quiz: Are You Ready for Sex?

What happens if I forget my birth control or the condom breaks?

If you forget your birth control or the condom breaks, you do have an option called emergency contraception, also known as the "morning-after pill". Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy up to 5 days after unprotected sex. The sooner you start the medicine after unprotected sex, the more effective the treatment is. Both females and males age 15 or older can buy it (Plan B One-Step™) at a pharmacy without a prescription. Call ahead to make sure they carry it and ask about the cost. If you're 16 years old or younger OR you don't want to buy emergency contraception yourself, you may be able to get it from your health care provider or a family planning clinic such as Planned Parenthood at a low cost.


On April 30, 2013, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved the following: Plan B One-Stepô emergency contraception can now be sold to girls 15 and older without a prescription. According to the pharmaceutical company that makes Plan B One-Stepô, a prescription will still be required for a few months or until the product (with new packaging instructions) is in stores.


For more information about EC, you can:

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Written and reviewed by the CYWH Staff at Boston Children's Hospital


Updated: 5/23/2013

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