Maybe you’ve heard of Plan B, the emergency contraceptive or morning after pill, but you aren’t really sure what it is or how it works. Where do you get it? When do you take it? How does it work after sex?
Let’s look at some of the most common questions regarding Plan B.
What is Plan B?
Plan B is an emergency progestin-only contraceptive intended to reduce the chance of pregnancy after unprotected sex or after contraception failure (condom breaks). The single-dose pill contains higher levels of the same hormones found in daily contraceptive pills and works in much the same way – by preventing ovulation.
When would you consider taking the morning after pill?
- You had sex and the condom broke.
- You normally use protection, but things got carried away and you didn’t.
- You were drinking too much and didn’t use protection.
- You are on the pill, but you missed a couple doses or haven’t been taking it regularly.
- You were sexually assaulted.
When is it taken?
The Plan B pill is taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex. It must be taken within 72 hours.
Will Plan B prevent a sexually transmitted infection (STI)?
No. Emergency contraception only lowers the risk of becoming pregnant. If you are having unprotected sex, we can offer information and referrals to help you make informed decisions about your sexual health and lower your risk for an STI.
Are there side effects?
Some women report side effects similar to those of regular oral birth-control pills: nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, headache, dizziness, and breast tenderness.
Does the morning after pill work if you’re already pregnant?
No. Plan B works to prevent pregnancy. If you are already pregnant, emergency contraception could cause complications. If you think you are pregnant, we invite you to come in for a free pregnancy test.
Is Plan B the same thing as the abortion pill?
No. The abortion pill, RU-486, is given after a fertilized egg has attached to the uterus wall. It works by causing the uterus to force out the egg, ending the pregnancy. Emergency contraception is designed to work before pregnancy begins.
We don’t recommend the morning after pill to our clients, but we do want you to have all the information to make the best decision for you. If you have other questions about Plan B, please call us. We’d love to talk through all of your options with you.