Emergency contraceptives, like Plan B, are drugs and products used to prevent pregnancy or prevent the implantation of a new pregnancy. There are many misconceptions about Plan B, and our licensed medical staff is committed to providing women in the Triangle with accurate information about their options. Call today to discuss your options with the Gateway Women’s Care team of medical professionals.
How does Plan B (the Morning-after Pill) work?
Sperm can live inside your body for up to six to seven days, making it possible to get pregnant days after having sex. Plan B is a large dose of birth control medication and can work in 3 ways:
- Preventing the egg from being released (ovulation)
- Preventing the sperm from fertilizing the egg (fertilization)
- Preventing an embryo (fertilized egg) from implanting in the uterus (implantation) by cutting off nourishment to the embryo. In this way, Plan B acts as an abortifacient (producing an abortion). (1)
How effective is Plan B?
Plan B is claimed to be 25% to 95% effective depending on how soon you take it after having sex, according to its manufacturer. (2)
- 95% effective within 24 hours
- 85% effective 25-48 hours
- 58% effective 48-72 hours
- 25% effective after 72 hours
While Plan B may seem like the easiest solution following unprotected sex, be aware of the following factors:
Possible side effects of Plan B?
As with most medications there are documented side effects to be aware of. If you have symptoms that persist for more than 48 hours or are severe, see your healthcare professional. (11)
- Abdominal pain
- Breast tenderness
- Irregular menstrual bleeding
Other side effects include:
- Migraine or severe headache
- Lower abdominal pain
- Painful menstruation
- Vaginal discharge
If you experience any of the following side effects, consult with a doctor immediately:
- Itching and a rash
- Sudden or unusual cramps or pain in the stomach or belly
- Uterine hemorrhage
- Vaginal hemorrhage
- Any effects that persist or worsen
Visit your doctor within 3 weeks after taking Plan B. A doctor should confirm that you are not pregnant, and that this medicine has not caused any harmful effects.
Plan B is a single dose medication. You should never give yourself additional doses.
What if I still get pregnant?
You had hoped Plan B would work but it hasn’t and now you’re pregnant. We can help you through this.
If you are having any symptoms of pregnancy or a positive pregnancy test after taking Plan B, we can help you decide your next steps. Our caring and supportive team will perform a lab-quality pregnancy test and help you understand all your pregnancy options. If your pregnancy test is positive, you may qualify for a free ultrasound to verify viability and see if proper implantation has occurred.
If abortion is a pregnancy option for you, we will provide free pre-abortion services including ultrasound and the education required in our state prior to any procedure.