Morning-After Pill

Emergency contraception (the Morning-After Pill) is a type of drug that is intended to act as emergency birth control or contraception. When you have had sex, the Morning-After Pill may prevent pregnancy.

Your health is important. Before choosing any emergency contraception, get the facts to make an informed decision. The Morning-After Pill (Plan B One-Step, Ella, Aftera, others) is not intended as a primary method of birth control.

What Is Plan B One-Step?

Plan B One-Step is a type of emergency contraceptive drug that may prevent pregnancy following sex.

Is Plan B One-Step Safe?

This drug contains a high dose of chemical hormones. Much larger than a daily dose birth control pill. Side effects can include heavier period, abdominal pain, nausea, dizziness, headache, breast tenderness, and delay of period. [1]  When considering Plan B, it would be helpful to note that a rapid return of fertility is likely as it can trigger ovulation. [2]

Is Plan B One-Step Effective?

Pregnancy can occur within a few days during the month. *  If you had sex during a time when you were unable to get pregnant, then Plan B One-Step would be a large dose of chemical hormones that your body doesn’t need.  is an unnecessary impact to your body. Depending on when it is take, the makers of Plan B One-Step found that Plan B fails up to 39% of the time. [4]  [6]

When Do You Take It?

This drug should be taken within 72 hours (3 days) after having sex, according to the makers of Plan B One-Step.  There are many women’s health clinics that will advise that it can be taken up to 120 hours (5 days) after sex. To protect your health and safety, it is always important to follow the correct dosage and instructions. You should be skeptical of clinics and organizations who sell you this drug, recommending that you use it outside of manufacturers recommendations.

What Is ella?

ella is approved as emergency contraception. But, unlike Plan B One-Step, it is chemically similar to mifeprex (RU-486), the abortion pill.

Is ella Safe?

After unprotected sex, women often find themselves fearful of pregnancy and take drugs, such as ella. But, pregnancy can only occur a few days each month – around the time that you ovulate. Like Plan B One-Step, taking ella during a time when you cannot become pregnant, exposes your body to chemicals unnecessarily and could also waste your money. The most common adverse reactions of ella include: headache, nausea, stomach (abdominal) pain, menstrual cramps, fatigue, and dizziness. [6]

Some unknowns about ella include:

    • Its effect on women under eighteen years of age.
    • Its effect on women over age thirty-five.
    • Its effect on women taking other forms of hormonal contraception.
    • Its effect on pregnant women.
    • Its effect on women who are breast-feeding.
    • Its effect on after repeated use within the same menstrual cycle.
    • Its effect on women who have not started their period.[7]

Is ella Effective?

No form of contraception is 100% effective in preventing pregnancy: ella is no different. Although it may reduce the risk of pregnancy when taken as directed, you can still become pregnant. The manufacturer’s package inserts mention two studies that indicate the number of expected pregnancies, after taking ella, are reduced from about 5.5% to about 2.2%.

Note: If you are taking hormonal contraceptives, ella can become less effective, which would could lead to increasing the risk of pregnancy rather than reducing it.

When Is ella Effective?

According to the manufacturer, this drug should be taken 120 hours (5 days) after sex. [8]

Your health is important. Before taking emergency contraception all the facts should be taken into consideration

We are dedicated to your health and are available to help you with any questions you may have. Please contact us to talk with a nurse or trained peer consultants about your situation. All services are provided at no cost and are confidential.


[1] Morning After Pill. Mayo Clinic Website: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/morning-after-pill/about/pac-20394730. Published December 31, 2019. Published June 5, 2020.

[2] Ella. Drugs Website: https://www.drugs.com/pro/ella.html Published May 1, 2020. Retrieved June 5, 2020

[3] Plan B Oral. Drugs Website: https://www.drugs.com/cons/plan-b.html. Published November 27, 2019. Retrieved June 8, 2020.

[4] Plan B The Original Morning After Pill. Plan B Website: https://planb.ca/faq.html#:~:text=The%20sooner%20you%20take%20plan,the%20efficacy%20rate%20is%2061%25. Published 2018. Retrieved June 8, 2020.

[5] Plan B One Step Fact Sheet. Plan B Website: https://www.planbonestep.com/assets/downloads/plan-b-one-step-fact-sheet.pdf. Published January 2019. Retrieved June 8, 2020.

[6] Ella Side Effects. Drugs Website: https://www.drugs.com/sfx/ella-side-effects.html. Published August 18, 2019. Retrieved June 8, 2020.

[7] ELLA- ulipristal acetate tablet. U.S. Library of Medicine Website: https://dailymed.nlm.nih.gov/dailymed/drugInfo.cfm?setid=052bfe45-c485-49e5-8fc4-51990b2efba4. Published January 27, 2020. Retrieved June 5, 2020.

[8] Ella Package Insert https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/022474s000lbl.pdf. Retrieved June 5, 2020.