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6 Morning-After Pill Facts

Everyone's talking about emergency contraception right now, but we need to separate truth from rumor about this pregnancy prevention tool.

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Written by Nurx
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Since the Supreme Court threw abortion rights into question earlier this month, people have been stocking up on emergency contraception. We’re fans of planning ahead and having a morning-after pill in your bedside table just in case (most brands will last for a few years before expiration), but want to be sure that everyone who has these pills understands how they work. Here is what you need to know about preventing pregnancy when Plan A is no longer an option:

Emergency contraception is not an abortion pill.

Louder for the people in the back: The morning-after pill cannot stop a pregnancy.  These pills work by stopping or delaying ovulation, so no egg is released from the ovaries and you can’t get pregnant. The abortion pill (sometimes two pills, containing mifepristone and misoprostol) ends an established pregnancy if taken within the first 11 weeks. One more time: Morning-after pills and medication abortion are different medications that do different things.

There are 2 types of morning-after pills.

It’s important that you understand the difference, so we created a handy chart that spells them out:

Get birth control at home

Birth control from Nurx costs as little as $0 with insurance or $15 per month without insurance.

plan b vs ell


*Both are more likely to work if you take them ASAP after sex

Ella and birth control can cancel each other out.

If you use hormonal birth control (pill, patch, ring or shot) do not take it for 5 days after taking Ella. Ella works by blocking progesterone hormone receptors, while birth control increases progesterone levels – so the two medications may counteract each other. It’s fine to take Ella if you missed your regular birth control and then had sex, but wait 5 days before restarting your birth control, and use condoms until you have been on your regular birth control for 7 days. 

Note: If you have an IUD or the arm implant, you don’t need emergency contraception. If you are concerned that your IUD or implant might be expired, take Plan B (or a generic) instead of Ella so that any remaining hormone from your birth control won’t cancel. Then contact your medical provider about replacing your IUD or implant, and use another birth control method, like condoms, until you know you’re covered

The most effective EC isn’t a pill.

If you have a copper IUD inserted by a medical provider within 5 days of unprotected sex, it will double as emergency contraception and birth control that lasts for years. This method isn’t impacted by body weight either. Learn about IUDs here.

Plan B is better when breastfeeding.

Ella can be used if you discard your breast milk for 24 hours after taking Ella (or consult with your medical provider), but Plan B and its generics are safe for baby.

You can get both morning-after pills online.

The Nurx medical team can prescribe Ella in advance to have on hand, or when you had unprotected sex and need it right away.  If it’s a rush we can send it overnight, or have the prescription sent to your local pharmacy for pick-up.  If you request it in advance shipping to your door is free. Most insurance plans cover Ella without a copay. Nurx also offers New Day, a generic version of Plan B, without a prescription.


This blog pro­vides infor­ma­tion about telemed­i­cine, health and related sub­jects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be con­strued as a substitute for, med­ical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or per­son with a med­ical con­cern should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx™.

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