Morning After Pill

“The Morning After Pill” – “Plan B ONE Step”

The Student Health Service encourages students who are sexually active to use the contraceptive of their choice before or during intercourse. For women who do not wish to become pregnant and who have had unprotected intercourse or failed contraception (such as a broken condom), there may be an option for a “second chance” to prevent pregnancy.

IF YOU HAVE HAD UNPROTECTED INTERCOURSE WITHIN THE PAST 72 HOURS, you may be a candidate for this postcoital (“after intercourse”) contraception (PCC). Please read the following information.

What Are The Chances Of Becoming Pregnant Without PCC?

The risk of pregnancy from a single act of unprotected midcycle intercourse (about two weeks before your next period is due) has been estimated at 20-30%. The risk of pregnancy from a single act of unprotected intercourse at other times in the cycle, has been estimated at 2-4%. It might be difficult or impossible to determine when you will ovulate, and therefore be difficult to assess your risk of becoming pregnant.

What Is the “Morning After Pill”?

The “Morning After Pill” is a medication known as “Plan B ONE Step.” One tablet contains 1.5 mg of the hormone levonorgestrel; this is a totally synthetic progestin. One tablet of Plan B ONE Step is taken at once to prevent pregnancy. The cost for Plan B ONE Step at the Student Health Service is $30.

How Does It Work?

The exact mechanism of action of Plan B ONE Step is not known. It is believed to act by delaying ovulation or preventing fertilization. In addition it may inhibit implantation by altering the endometrium. Once implantation has occurred and pregnancy is established, Plan B ONE Step cannot cause an abortion. Plan B ONE Step reduces the average risk of pregnancy among users from 8% to about 1%. After a single act of unprotected intercourse, the risk of pregnancy is reduced by 89% by Plan B ONE Step. The effectiveness declines as the interval between intercourse and the start of the treatment increases. In the first 24 hours after intercourse, Plan B ONE Step can prevent 95% of unexpected pregnancies. Plan B ONE Step may be effective if taken as late as 5 days following an episode of unprotected intercourse, although it is best to use Plan B ONE Step as soon as possible.  If you have had unprotected intercourse greater than 72 hours ago but less than 120 hours ago, please speak with a nurse or healthcare provider.

Risks And Side Effects

Plan B ONE Step is safe for most women. The most common side effect is nausea. Other side effects include lower abdominal pain, fatigue, headache and dizziness, breast tenderness, and menstrual changes. In should not be used by women with undiagnosed abnormal genital bleeding and in women who are hypersensitive (allergic) to any component of Plan B ONE Step.

What If It Fails?

Studies have shown that Plan B ONE Step does not cause harm to a pregnancy. It should not, however, be used in women known to be pregnant because it is ineffective. Abortion (termination of pregnancy) remains an option both for women who become pregnant despite use of Plan B ONE Step, and for those who choose not to take Plan B ONE Step. Pregnancy options counseling is available at the Student Health Service.

What Will Happen?

Approximately 58% of users will have their next menses on time or a few days early or a few days late. This cycle may be unusual (lighter, heavier, longer or shorter than usual). You should return to clinic if you do not have a menstrual period within a month of taking Plan B ONE Step.

How can you get Plan B ONE Step?

Plan B ONE Step is available without a prescription from the Student Health Service pharmacy Monday-Friday from 8:30am-12noon and 1:30pm-4pm for students 17 years of age or older. Plan B ONE Step is also available at other times by seeing the nurse on duty at the Student Health Service. Women 16 years of age or younger may receive Plan B ONE Step by prescription (these prescriptions are available by seeing a nurse or examiner at the Student Health Service). The cost for Plan B ONE Step is $25.00 at the Student Health Service.

Plan B ONE Step is also available through most retail pharmacies without a prescription for individuals 17 years of age and older. You will need to ask the pharmacist for Plan B ONE Step if you go to a retail pharmacy (it will be “behind the counter” at the pharmacy).

Individuals may also obtain Plan B ONE Step “in advance” from the Student Health Service Pharmacy during regular business hours.


If you have had unprotected intercourse report to the Student Health Service as soon as possible to discuss using this form of contraception.

REMEMBER: The effectiveness of this form of birth control diminishes with time. The “morning after pill” is available 24 hours a day at the Student Health Service (when school is in session). If you are away from campus, Emergency Contraception can be obtained from most retail pharmacies.

For Further Information Contact:

Wake Forest University Student Health Service — 336.758.5218
— Pharmacy: menu option “2”;
— Nurse (after clinic hours and weekend hours): menu option “4”

North Carolina Hotline for Post-Coital Contraception — 1.866.942.7762
The Emergency Contraception Website —