Emergency Contraception


What now?

Emergency contraceptive pills are not available in the Wellness Center.

The pill can be purchased over the counter at the pharmacy without a prescription. This service is available through the Healthy Teen Center at 301-324-5141. Although recommended to be given within 72 hours, recent published literature indicates that EC (emergency contraception) is effective even up to five days post-incident. The sooner it is given, the better. The number 1-888-not-2-late is a toll-free number that gives ECP options and resources.

When is emergency contraception appropriate?

No contraceptive method is 100% effective, and few couples can use their method perfectly every time they have intercourse. Emergency contraception provides an important safety net when:

  • A condom breaks
  • No contraceptive is used
  • A woman misses two or more contraceptive pills in a row or starts a new pack two or more days late
  • A diaphragm or cervical cap slips out of place
  • A woman is more than two weeks late for a contraceptive injection
  • Intercourse occurs unexpectedly and without contraceptive protection
  • A woman is raped

Emergency Contraception is not a substitute for regular contraceptive use. It is less effective than regular contraception (used correctly) and provides no protection from HIV or sexually transmitted infections (STIs). However, in emergency situations, it can play an important role as a backup for other methods. It is second-chance contraception.