Everything you wanted to know about Plan B


The world of birth control can be a confusing place especially when you find yourself in an emergency situation where a pregnancy could be the outcome. The Plan B pill is an emergency contraceptive readily available at most pharmacies, but just like any other medication it is important to be fully informed about how it works.

What is Plan B?

Plan B pill is a single dose of the Levonorgestrel hormone that when used in a 72-hour window after sexual activity can prevent a potential pregnancy. In the sex health world, it is referred to as “emergency contraception”. This just means you do not take this pill regularly like your daily birth control pills but only when needed.

When would you use Plan B/ How soon does Plan B work?

Plan B should be taken as a back-up method when you are fearful the first contraceptive you used did not work or there was no contraceptive used during sex. This can mean, you forgot to take your birth control pill several times, had unprotected sex, the condom broke, you got caught up in the heat of the moment, etc.. it happens! Whatever the reason is, Plan B is the emergency option.

Plan B pills are most effective the sooner they are taken, ideally within 12 hours of having sex. However, you can take the pill up to three days after. If used within the first 24 hours, it is 95% effective. Meanwhile, if you take the pill after 3 days, it’s only 61% effective.

How soon does Plan B work?
It goes to work as soon as you take it.

How does Plan B work?

The Plan B pill is a “progesterone only” pill and stops pregnancy by doing three main things:

  1. Temporarily stops the release of an egg so it cannot be fertilized
  2. Prevents fertilization of the egg
  3. Prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus by thickening the mucus lining.

*It is important to note that by taking the Plan B pills you are not having an abortion by medical standards as there is no implantation of the egg. But the decision is up to you.

Things to be aware of:

With any medication, the Plan B pill can have side effects. The most common being:

·       Nausea ·       Abdominal Pain
·       Fatigue ·       Headache
·       Dizziness ·       Breast Tenderness
·       Vomiting ·       Diarrhea
·       Irregular bleeding  

Some things too take note of about Plan B are:

  • You should get your next period on time or a few days late, spotting is normal
  • Plan B taken in frequent doses can lessen the effectiveness
  • If you vomit within 2 hours of taking the Plan B medicine you may not have absorbed the medication properly

The Plan B pill is considered the most effective emergency contraceptive on the market. It is regularly available without a prescription or age restriction and is often behind the pharmacist’s desk. Costs can vary depending on where you live but the average cost is $40. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about Plan B to make sure it is the best option for you.

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