Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About...
Is emergency contraception safe?
Yes, almost all women can use at least one type of emergency contraception. No deaths have been linked to using emergency contraceptive pills, and medical experts agree there are no situations where the risks outweigh the benefits of being able to prevent pregnancy after sex.
You can safely use emergency contraceptive pills (the "morning after pill" or "day after pills") even if your health care provider recommends against using the birth control pill (usually that’s because you are at risk of stroke, heart disease, blood clots, or other cardiovascular problems). Medical experts agree that using estrogen and progestin – the hormones found in these pills – on an emergency basis does not carry the same risks as taking oral contraceptives every day. And if your health care provider has said you should absolutely avoid estrogen, you can probably still use one of the three other types of emergency contraception: progestin-only pills (like Plan B One-Step, Next Choice One Dose, Next Choice or Levonorgestrel Tablets), ulipristal acetate (ella) or the Copper-T IUD.
Emergency contraceptive pills ("morning after pills") have no long term or serious side effects, although you might experience some minor side effects.
The only time all emergency contraception is “contraindicated” – meaning you should not use it – is when you know you are pregnant. Emergency contraceptive pills won’t work then, and using an IUD as emergency contraception could increase your risk of infection during pregnancy. In addition, the label for ella states that breastfeeding women should not use ella, as the effects are unknown.
For a more detailed academic review of the medical and social science literature about emergency contraception, including its safety record, click here .