The Plan B pill, also known as the "morning after pill," is the backup plan for times when your birth control method has failed, has been forgotten, or you were not on any form of birth control, and you do not want to get pregnant. Whether you've missed a few pills, the condom broke or slipped off, or you forgot to insert your diaphragm, etc., you can count on the Plan B pill.
The only FDA-approved emergency contraceptives available in the US are Plan B, Plan B One-Step, and Ella. Plan B and Plan B One-Step are available over-the-counter to women 17 years of age or older, Ella is only available by prescription.
The pill can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, but the sooner you take it the more effective it will be.
What It Is
It is one of the first and only forms of emergency contraption available on the market today.
What It Is not
- it is NOT an abortion pill (do not take if already pregnant, or you think you are)
- it is NOT protection from HIV / AIDS or any other sexually transmitted diseases or infections (STDs or STIs)
- it is NOT a long-term pregnancy prevention plan (it only works for this one incident after taken)
- it is NOT a regular form of contraceptive (if you're sexually active, discuss available contraceptives with your doctor)
- it is NOT a substitution for routine birth control
What It Does
- Temporarily stops the release of an egg from the ovary
- Prevents fertilization
- If the egg is already fertilized, it follows the egg from attaching to the uterus
The Plan B pill contains a form of progestin called levonorgestrel which works by preventing ovulation and may also interfere with fertilization of an egg. It is also possible that it prevails implantation of a fertilized egg in your uterus by altering its lining.
The Plan B Pill is not an abortion pill. If you are pregnant, or think you might be, you should not take it however there is no evidence that it will harm you or the fetus.
Pros and Cons
There are two main benefits associated with the Plan B pill:
- They decrease the risk of an unintended pregnancy by up to 89%
- There is no known risk of harm to the fetus if you do get pregnant or are already pregnant
There are several disadvantages to emergency contraception pills:
- Women under 17 can not get these pills without a doctor's prescription
- The pills must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex to be effective
- Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, breast tendness, and headache
- The pills do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases
There are no medical restrictions on taking the Plan B pill more than once a month however it should only be used in emergency situations. The idea behind it is that you only have to take it once, or very rarely. Plan A is always the best choice so it's important that you speak with your doctor regarding a long-term contraceptive plan that's best for you.