Emergency Contraception and your weight

What you need to know before taking Emergency Contraception.

Whilst being a productive adult by scrolling through Facebook the other day, I came across a startling article headline... ‘Emergency contraceptive pills are effective for overweight or obese women’. Which had me shooketh!

This was based on a recent episode on Hulu’s hit television show Shrill that navigates through the life of a plus sized woman including her sex life. In the show, she rushed to get emergency contraception after having unprotected sex. She did so thinking, I am within the designated time frame (72 hours) and should be ok.

So I researched. And it turns out... “Clinical studies have shown significantly reduced efficacy of emergency contraception (EC) in overweight and obese women” and those over 175 pounds. SHOOK! Not only is this true of EC but true of the regular hormonal contraceptives as well. What does this mean in a country where the average American woman weighs 166 pounds and that abortion access seems to be diminishing? It means there should be more attention to the fact that plus size women’s reproductive health is not a priority.

Gemina’s Recommendations:

  1. Your weight doesn’t diminish your sexual desires. Therefore, being sexually active as a plus sized, overweight, or obese woman puts you at the same risk for unwanted pregnancies. When seeking birth control options- make sure the type you chose is best for your body needs.

  2. Talk to your provider about EC in the instance that you might need it.

  3. Overweight or not, emergency contraception is not a form of birth control!

  4. Use protection and take the necessary precautions if you aren’t trying to get pregnant.


Kapp N, Abitbol JL, Mathe H, et al Effect of body weight and BMI on the efficacy of levonorgestrel emergency contraception. Contraception. 201

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