• Emergency Contraception

  • Emergency Contraception is available from Counseling & Health Services.  Please read the information below to learn more about Emergency Contraception. 

    What is Emergency Contraception?
    EC is a method of birth control which can be used after intercourse to decrease the chance of pregnancy.  EC is made of the hormone progestin.

    How does EC work?
    The pills work mainly by temporarily delaying the release of an egg (ovulation). If no egg is released, no pregnancy will occur. It may also prevent a fertilized egg from implanting by thinning the lining of the uterus and thickening the cervical mucus. Any existing pregnancy will not be affected.

    How do I use EC?
    EC is most effective if taken within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse.  EC comes in the form of two pills.  Take both pills with liquid right away.  Be sure to follow prescription instructions.

    When should I use EC?
    EC can be used whenever there is a chance of pregnancy, such as unprotected intercourse, a broken condom, missed birth control pill(s) and /or sexual assault. EC is for emergencies and should not be used as a regular form of birth control.

    How effective is EC?

    Only about 1% of women who use EC will get pregnant.  While very effective, a more reliable form of birth control is recommended for regular use. EC should be used when another method has failed.

    If a pregnancy does occur, studies have shown no increased risk of birth defects. If you do become pregnant, Counseling & Health Services offers counseling about pregnancy options and general information on parenting, adoption and abortion.

    What are the side effects of EC?

    The most common side effect with EC is nausea. Some less common side effects include fatigue, vomiting, diarrhea and dizziness. EC should be taken with food to reduce the chance of nausea.

    Will it affect my period?
    Your next period may be earlier or later than expected. Usually your period will start 2-3 weeks after you take EC. If you do not have a period within 3 weeks after taking EC, call Counseling & Health Services to schedule a pregnancy test.

    Will it protect me from infections?

    EC does not protect against HIV or other transmitted infections. If you had unprotected intercourse, you may want to consider being tested for sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Most STI tests are not accurate until at least 2-3 weeks after exposure.

    Who should not use EC?
    A women who is already pregnant should not use EC, although it will not affect any existing pregnancy.

    What if I’m taking birth control pills?

    If you are taking birth control pills, continue taking them on your usual schedule while taking EC. At the end of your pack of pills, SKIP THE REMINDER PILLS, and start a new pack of pills at that time.

    You will not get a period this cycle. Your next period should come during the last week of the second pack of pills. If you do not have a period then, call Counseling & Health Services to schedule a pregnancy test.

    What if I’m on Depo-provera?
    If you were late for your Depo shot and had unprotected intercourse, EC may be a good option. Abstain from intercourse for ten days (or use two forms of birth control such as condom and spermicide), and return to Counseling & Health Services for a pregnancy test. If the test is negative, you may receive your next Depo shot at that time.

    What if I'm on the Patch?
    If you are using the patch, continue with your usual schedule.  After you remove the third patch, skip the patch-free week and apply your next patch the same day.

    What if I'm on the Ring?
    If you are using the vaginal ring, remove your ring at the usual time.  Skip the ring-free week and insert your next ring the same day.

    How will I know if the EC worked?
    Pregnancy tests are accurate ten to fourteen days after intercourse. Over-the-counter pregnancy tests are accurate, but can be difficult to read. Counseling & Health Services also offers pregnancy testing.

    If you have more questions about your current birth control and how it may be affected by using EC, talk to the pharmacist or call Counseling & Health Services to speak with the nurse.

    Where is EC available?
    EC is available through Counseling & Health Services during regular nursing appointments.

    After hours or on weekends, call 651-523-2204 for recorded instructions about emergency contraception, or call Lloyd's Pharmacy at 651-645-8636.

    To discuss any sexual health issues, contact:

    • Counseling & Health Services, 651-523-2204

    • Family Tree Clinic, 651-645-0478

    • Parkway Family Physicians, 651-690-1311

    Other issues you may want to discuss with the nurse:

    • You are sexually active, but currently do not use birth control.

    • You're considering switching birth control methods and would like to discuss different birth control options.

    • You want to know how to use your birth control method most effectively.

    • You would like a referral for an annual exam and Pap.

    • You have questions/concerns about sexually transmitted infections (STIs).


    For additional information about EC or free confidential information about birth control, sexually transmitted infections or to find a clinic in our area, call:

    The Minnesota Family Planning & STD Hotline