Ask us anything. No judgments.

Does my weight affect which emergency contraception I can use?


A lot of you asked us:

Is it true that Plan B isn’t effective for women who weigh 176 pounds, and it becomes less effective at 165? What other emergency contraception options are there?

We’re working to make sure that everyone has all of the information they need in order to decide what’s best for them when it comes to emergency contraception. Let’s break down the facts:

What’s emergency contraception (EC)?

Emergency contraception (also called the morning-after pill) is birth control that you can use up to 5 days after unprotected sex (like if you don’t use a condom or forget to take your pills, for example).

There are a few different kinds of emergency contraception:

  • There are two different types of EC pills:
  • Ulipristal acetate, known by the brand name ella
  • You need a prescription from a nurse or doctor to get ella
  • Levonorgestrel pills, including the brands Next Choice One Dose, My Way, and Plan B One-Step
  • Plan B One-Step is available at drugstores over the counter, without a prescription for anyone, regardless of gender or age.
  • The sooner levonorgestrel pills are taken after unprotected sex, the better they work.

Why is Plan B One-Step in the news?

It was recently announced that in Europe, a method of emergency contraception which is identical to Plan B One-Step pills is now going to include information on the label stating that these pills are less effective in people over 165 pounds and may not be effective in people over 175 pounds. This label change was based on analysis of a 2011 study.

I weigh more than 175 pounds. What are my options for EC?

The most effective option for people of any weight is getting a ParaGard IUD inserted by a nurse or doctor. If you’d rather take a pill, you can take ella. Weight can also be a factor for ella effectiveness: If you have a body mass index (BMI) that’s higher than 35, it’s less effective (but still worth a shot if you can’t get an IUD). Click here to learn more about ella.

If the IUD or ella aren’t options for you and you weigh more than 175 pounds, it’s perfectly safe to take Plan B One-Step or Next Choice One Dose—but it may not work for you.

How do I get ella?

You need a prescription from a nurse or doctor to get ella. You can also consult with a doctor through the ella website and get it delivered to you the next day. (You need to have a credit card and be 18 to order it online.)

When it comes to weight and effectiveness of emergency contraception, more study is needed but, until then, if you weigh more than 165 and need EC, ella and the ParaGard IUD are your best bet. If you need EC and have questions about which EC method is best for you, contact your local Planned Parenthood health center.

-Chelsea at Planned Parenthood

  1. alwayskeeplaughing reblogged this from sexeducationforprudes
  2. sexeducationforprudes reblogged this from plannedparenthood
  3. female-feminism reblogged this from plannedparenthood
  4. birthcontrolblog reblogged this from plannedparenthood
  5. actualqueerprince reblogged this from thelittlestthrasher
  6. thelittlestthrasher reblogged this from fuckyeahsexeducation
  7. cinnamonfritterderps reblogged this from cupsnake
  8. spikelvr75 reblogged this from rabbleprochoice and added:
    Wow. I didn’t know this. The last thing I want is for someone to drop $40 on a pill that won’t even work for them and...
  9. rorycassie reblogged this from plannedparenthood
  10. fretbrett reblogged this from stfuprolifers
  11. fatbottompurls reblogged this from stfuprolifers and added:
    This is probably really good to know.
  12. brideofloki reblogged this from stfuprolifers
  13. darkpixie10 reblogged this from plannedparenthood
  14. a-contra reblogged this from stfuprolifers
  15. stfuprolifers reblogged this from bebinn
  16. lochnessnik reblogged this from plannedparenthood
  17. the-still-spooky-almightypiggy reblogged this from the-noble-almost-human-porpoise
  18. the-noble-almost-human-porpoise reblogged this from theubergrump
  19. thus-conscience-doth-make reblogged this from theubergrump
  20. theubergrump reblogged this from iaccidentallythepatriarchy
  21. piercedpracticeskin reblogged this from finedineonmyvegangenitalia
  22. faithmaclay reblogged this from finedineonmyvegangenitalia
  23. finedineonmyvegangenitalia reblogged this from fuckyeahsexeducation
  24. zandperl reblogged this from mixdgrlproblems
  25. justbemymoonbear reblogged this from mixdgrlproblems

Ready for a change?

You will be redirected to a website operated by an independent Planned Parenthood 501©(4) entity.