Emergency contraception and the birth control pill both contain hormones, but the two are not interchangeable.
The pill, patch and ring, as well as condoms, are primary contraceptives — they’re your Plan A. If your birth control ever fails for any reason, one option is emergency contraception, which is also known as the morning-after pill. Plan B One-Step is a brand of emergency contraception but its name is often used to refer to emergency contraception in general, like how we say Kleenex to mean any sort of tissue.
If a condom falls off during sex or you forget to take a pill and then have unprotected sex, emergency contraception can help you stay protected. It’s available over the counter, without a prescription. And even though it’s called a morning-after pill, you don’t need to wait until the morning to take it. In fact, it should be taken as soon as possible after sex to prevent pregnancy, though up to 72 hours can be OK.
You shouldn’t use emergency contraception if you think you’re already pregnant. In that case, call your doctor, gynecologist or sexual health clinic to discuss your options.