THE Office of Women’s Health (OWH) recommends the following guidelines for optimal effectiveness: Take Plan B One-Step or a generic version of Plan B as soon as possible, within three days (72 hours) after unprotected sex. For the two-dose generic version of Plan B, which is called Next Choice, take one pill as soon as possible within three days and the second pill 12 hours after.
It is important to note that emergency contraception is intended to protect against pregnancy after a single sexual act with penile penetration into the vagina. This means that if you have unprotected sex, take plan B, and then have unprotected sex again, you will need to go back to plan B.
Does plan B have any side effects?
Plan B and other emergency contraceptive pills are safe ways to prevent pregnancy. « The progesterone-like hormone in these pills is something we’ve been using for a long time, and when people studied what happens in people who use multiple, repeated doses, it was found to be safe, » Jessica W. Kiley, MD, MPHassociate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, says SELF.
The potential short-term side effects associated with Plan B are generally no more severe than those you might experience during PMS or a gastric bug. According to the OWH, some people may experience headaches, abdominal pain, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, or breast pain. Plan B can also affect the timing of your next period. And, according to Planned Parenthood, « there have been no reports of serious problems among the millions of people who have taken it. »
How do you know if plan B worked?
Spotting may occur after taking an emergency contraceptive pill and your next period may be irregular. The timing of your next period after taking emergency contraception varies. Andrea Henkel, MDobstetrician-gynecologist at Stanford Children’s Health, tells SELF that it is normal to have your period a little earlier or later after taking emergency contraception, and that your period may be longer or shorter than normal. « With either, if you’re more than a week late, you should take a pregnancy test, because such a lateness may represent an early pregnancy, » says Dr. Henkel.
Can I take Plan B if I take birth control pills?
The short answer: yes. Many people use Plan B and other emergency contraceptive pills as back-up forms of protection if they forget to take their daily pill, but you don’t need to double the dose. « If you’re using your method as prescribed, there’s no need to take emergency contraception as ‘backup,' » says Dr. Henkel. (If you take birth control pills and forget to take them regularly, it may be time to consider a long-acting reversible contraceptive method, such as a contraceptive implant or an IUD.)
You can also continue to use your preferred method of birth control as prescribed after using Plan B. (If you are using Ella, the prescription morning-after pill, Dr. Henkel advises waiting five days before resuming hormonal birth control, such as combination birth control pills, as they may interact with emergency contraception.)
Will plan B make it hard for me to get pregnant later?
Some people worry that taking plan B will reduce their chances of getting pregnant intentionally later on, but fear not: before you google “can plan B make you infertile”, the answer is definitely no. According to World Health Organization“Medications used for emergency contraception do not harm future fertility,” and there is also no delay in returning to fertility after using Plan B.
So rest assured: there is no need to panic if you are faced with the prospect of an unwanted pregnancy. Plan B or other emergency contraceptives are safe and effective and can help you cope with the aftermath.