Skip to content

Birth Control Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Emergency Contraception: What to Expect

If you're thinking about using emergency contraception, you may wonder: What will I feel like afterward?

The pill forms are safe. That's why you can buy some of them without a prescription. They contain the same hormones that are in birth control pills, which women have been using for decades. The copper-T IUD is also a very effective, safe way to prevent a pregnancy after sex.

Recommended Related to Birth Control

Sexual Health, Birth Control, and Condoms

Birth control is a way for men and women to prevent pregnancy. There are many different methods of birth control; some, like the latex condom, prevent pregnancy (if used correctly) and also help protect against sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs.  There are two types of condoms, the male condom and the female condom.

Read the Sexual Health, Birth Control, and Condoms article > >

Research shows that Plan B One-Step starts to lose its effectiveness in women heavier than 165 pounds and is not recommend for anyone over this weight. Instead, a copper-T IUD is the suggested option for emergency contraception in this group.

Most women don't have any side effects after they use emergency contraception. But if you do, they should be mild and go away quickly. There are no long-term effects either.

Emergency Contraception Pills: Side Effects

Different emergency contraception pills are available -- brands as well as generics. The side effects are similar and usually last a day or two at most. They may include:

  • Belly pain and cramping
  • Breast tenderness
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling tired
  • Headache
  • Upset stomach and vomiting

Later, you may have a few others.

  • Spotting. Within the next week, you might have some spotting. Your next period may also be lighter or heavier than you’re used to. It's common and not something to worry about. But if you're concerned or the bleeding seems very heavy, call your doctor.
  • Changes to your cycle. Emergency contraception can cause your next period to come a bit early or a bit late. That's normal. But if you're more than a week late, you should take a pregnancy test.

If you have severe belly pain, you should call your doctor right away. This could be a sign of a tubal, or ectopic, pregnancy. This is a medical emergency.

If you have other symptoms that concern you, call a doctor or pharmacist to be safe.

Emergency Contraception IUD: Getting It, Side Effects

The copper-T IUD (Paragard) is a small T-shaped piece of plastic and copper. To use it for emergency contraception, a doctor or other health professional will insert it in your uterus. The procedure may feel like a Pap smear. It will be uncomfortable -- like mild cramps -- but take only a few minutes.

Today on WebMD

IUD
Here's what to expect.
man opening condom wrapper
Do you know the right way to use them?
 
birth control pills
Here's what to do next.
doctor and patient
His and her options.
 
Forgot To Take Your Birth Control Pills
Article
pelivic pain slideshow
Slideshow
 
Birth Control Pills Weight Gain
Article
Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch
Article
 
Comparing Birth Control Pill
Article
New Birth Control Pill
Video
 
HPV Vaccine Future
Article
Young couple holding hands
Quiz