Did you forget to take your birth control pills? Or not use protection? Don’t panic.
Mistakes happen, but with emergency
contraception, if you’re not ready to
be pregnant, you don’t have to be.
Watch videos of teens visit a clinic on their own
Get the Facts: Emergency Contraception (PDF)
What Is It?
Emergency contraception (sometimes called EC or the "morning-after pill") is birth control a woman can
take after unprotected sex to help prevent pregnancy. It can be taken up to five days (120
hours) after unprotected sex, but it’s more effective the
sooner it’s taken.
What It’s Not.
EC is not an abortion. It helps prevent a pregnancy after unprotected sex. EC does not protect against sexually transmitted
infections. Only condoms can help prevent
anyone from getting an STI, including HIV. . Remember, the best way to prevent a pregnancy and an STI (other than not having sex) is by using condoms plus another form of birth control, such as pills, the contraceptive shot or an IUD. Learn more about your options (PDF)Other languages: [En Español].
How Does It Work?
The EC pill, which contains the same hormone found in most birth control pills, helps prevent a woman’s eggs from being released and meeting up with any sperm. If the egg and sperm can’t meet, then a pregnancy can’t happen.
Does It Work?
EC is very effective and safe. It works best when taken
within 72 hours (3 days or less) after unprotected sex.
It still works (but not as well) when taken within 120
hours (5 days) after sex, so the sooner you take it, the
better. EC reduces your risk of getting pregnant by 88%. And if you take EC within the first 24 hours after sex, it reduces your risk of pregnancy by up to 95%. It is safe for most women to take, and has very
few, if any, side effects.
How Do I Get It?
There are many places you can get EC. If you are 16 or
younger, you can get it free at some health centers, or
get a prescription. If you are 17 or older, you can still get
a prescription, or buy it at the pharmacy. EC is available
at no cost at the NYC STD clinics.
*To find a health center where you can get EC for free, call 311 and ask for a NYC STD clinic near you or click here.