What Is Plan B?


Plan B

Plan B, also known as the “morning after pill”, is a relatively new type of emergency contraception that has been made available over the counter. At Pregnancy Resource Clinic, we frequently get questions about Plan B and many clients seem confused about exactly what it is and how it works. We wanted to provide some accurate information so you can make a decision on whether this is a good option for you.

Why You Might Consider Plan B

  • You didn’t use birth control
  • You were using a condom, but it broke
  • You are on the pill, but you don’t take it regularly
  • You think your birth control may not have worked
  • You were forced to have sex

If you are considering Plan B because of a sexual assault, we recommend that you contact the police right away. We also recommend Centre County Women’s Resource Center as a resource if you or someone you know was the victim of sexual assault. They even have a 24/7 helpline and can be reached at 814.234.5050. And if you think you might be pregnant or have a Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) or you just want someone to talk to, please know that we are here for you.

How Plan B Works

Plan B should be taken within seventy-two hours after having unprotected sex. There are 3 possible ways Plan B works depending on where you are in your cycle.

  1. It can prevent or delay ovulation
  2. It can interfere with the fertilization of an egg
  3. It can possibly prevent implantation of an already fertilized egg in the uterus by altering the lining. This third option is the source of much of the controversy around Plan B. Plan B is not the same as RU486*. Plan B doesn’t stop the development of a fertilized egg once it is implanted in the uterus.

What Plan B Doesn’t Do

As we mentioned above, Plan B doesn’t work if the fertilized egg is already implanted. In fact, taking Plan B if you are already pregnant can cause complications and is not recommended. If you think there is a chance you could be pregnant from a previous sexual engagement, we will make every effort to get you in for an appointment for a pregnancy test within your seventy-two hour window so that you can make an informed decision.

Plan B also doesn’t protect you from getting pregnant if you have sex after taking the pills.

Finally, Plan B will not protect you against Sexually Transmitted Diseases or Infections (STDs/STIs). If you have had unprotected sex, you are still at risk for infection and should be tested. If you would like more information about our free testing, please visit our web page or contact us for an appointment.

Plan B Side Effects

As with any drug, there is a risk of side effects. Each individual can react differently to the same drug. Some of the know side effects** are:

  • Nausea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Menstrual Changes
  • Headache
  • Tiredness
  • Breast Pain
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness

We’re Here If You Want To Talk

While the Pregnancy Resource Clinic doesn’t recommend Plan B to our clients, we do want you to be informed about all of your options. We promise we will answer any questions with accurate information and will be a safe place for you to talk through your decisions. We know that a potential unexpected pregnancy is a difficult situation and we want to be a resource for you.

*RU486 and Plan B are two different drugs that work in very different ways. RU486 or the “abortion pill” ends a pregnancy once the fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus and can be taken up to 49 days after the last menstrual period. (This drug is FDA approved for use by women up to 7 weeks, but is often used “Off label” up to 9 weeks.)


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Category: Medical, Pregnancy

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