Plan B has gotten lots of press lately. For many women, this product may be enough to save them lots of grief, frustration, and ultimately an extremely difficult decision. However, it is necessary to note that it should never be used as a primary type of birth control, and you should always use protection.
That being said, if you do happen to have unprotected sex, and are worried that you could become pregnant, you might be considering taking Plan B, but you need to know what will happen before you do.
First, you should know what Plan B isn’t. Plan B prevents pregnancy. It is not an abortion pill, or the pill called RU-486. The abortion pill contains the mifepristone, which is a synthetic steroid. Mifepristone stops the body from producing progesterone, which is essential in keeping a pregnancy viable. Plan B delays, or inhibits ovulation. If you have been implanted, Plan B will not be effective.
Now, what you need to know about Plan B:
- Taking high dosages of birth control MIGHT WORK as a substitute for emergency contraceptive – if you have the right kind. You will need to check the active ingredients, but some birth control pills can have the same effect as Plan B. Keep in mind that Plan B is a progesterone only pill, so it will likely be the most effective option.
- The pills don’t have to be taken in 12 hour increments. According to the instructions, the two Plan B pills should be taken 12 hours apart, but you don’t have to. You can take them both at the same time with the same effect. There is also the Plan B One-Step, which contains only one pill.
- You can still take the pill after using Plan B. The makers of Plan B actually recommend that you begin taking your monthly contraceptives the day after you take it. Just remember that you need to protect yourself for at least seven days because pills aren’t effective for a week.
- You won’t bleed. Some people think that after taking Plan B, they will spot and that an early period will start, but this simply isn’t true. Some women may bleed after they take Plan B, but it’s neither rare or common. The blood in this case is due to hormonal changes and is not menstruation. Plan B can change when you get your period, though.
- You shouldn’t delay, but don’t panic if you don’t get to it right after unprotected sex. You should absolutely take it as soon as you can after unprotected sex. It will help to improve the chances that you’ve taken it in time to stop ovulation and decrease your chances of becoming pregnant. While the directions of Plan B say that it is effective for use up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, some studies suggested that it will be effective after 120 hours. However, the earlier the better.
- Plan B will still be effective if you’ve used it before. Plan B reduces the chances of becoming pregnant after unprotected sex by 89 percent, but the chances that it will fail do increase when you use it more often. It’s like anything we do repeatedly; the more you do it, the more likely it is that it will fail. Plan B’s success rate never changes, though, even if you’ve used it more than once.