UT University Health Services

Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception, often referred to as the morning-after pill, prevents pregnancy after unprotected sex, birth control method failure, or sexual assault.

You can take emergency contraception within 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex to avoid pregnancy—but it becomes less effective with every hour that passes, so use it as soon as possible for maximum effectiveness.

Emergency contraception works by preventing fertilization or implantation. Emergency contraception is only useful for the prevention of pregnancy—it will not affect an existing pregnancy. Emergency contraception is not the same as the abortion pill.

Emergency contraception is not intended for routine use as a method of birth control, as there are more effective and affordable long-term options.

Emergency contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. Use condoms to reduce the risk of STI transmission.

You can get tested for STIs at UHS or at an off-campus location.

Over-The-Counter

Emergency contraception pills (sold as Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, Next Choice, My Way, After Pill, and Levonorgestrel) are available for sale over-the-counter and online with no age or gender restrictions in the United States. This form of emergency contraception uses a high dose of the hormones found in birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. These forms of emergency contraception consist of either one pill you take immediately or two pills you take over a period of 12 hours.

Students, faculty, and staff can buy Plan B in the 40 Acres Pharmacy (SSB 1.110). You can also call the UHS 24-Hour Nurse Advice Line at 512-475-NURS (6877) if you are not sure what type of emergency contraception to take.

Prescription-Only

The only brand of emergency contraception pills that requires a prescription is ella™. Like other pill-based forms of emergency contraception, ella™ is not restricted by age or gender. ella™ is equally effective at preventing pregnancy for up to 5 days (120 hours) after unprotected sex.

You can schedule an appointment at UHS Women’s Health Clinic to get a prescription for ella™ online or by calling 512-471-4955.

BMI and Emergency Contraception

Current medical literature suggests that your BMI (body-mass index) can affect the efficacy of different forms of emergency contraception.

The most effective option for people of all weights who are trying to avoid pregnancy is to get a Paragard IUD inserted within 5 days of unprotected sex. If you do not want to get a Paragard IUD, the most effective emergency contraception pill for people of all weights is ella™.

If your BMI is higher than 25, over-the-counter emergency contraception may be less effective. It may not work at all if your BMI is higher than 30. If your BMI is higher than 35, ella™ may be less effective.

You can call the UHS 24-Hour Nurse Advice Line at 512-475-NURS (6877) if you need help deciding what form of emergency contraception is right for you.



Healthy Sexuality

Healthy Sexuality Topics
Classes and Workshops
Condoms
Get Free or Low-Cost Condoms
Contraception
Safer Sex Ambassadors
Contraception for College Students Video Series
Men's Sexual Health
Off-Campus STI / HIV testing locations
Sexually Transmitted Infections
UHS STI Testing
UHS Sexual Assault Forensic Exams
AlcoholEdu and SAPU
Women's Health




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512) 471-4955 (512) 471-4955
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