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Plan B – Emergency Contraception

Plan B - Emergency Contraceptive
Plan B One-Step, or the morning after pill, is an emergency contraceptive to be taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. It is one of the most common brand name emergency contraceptives currently available for women to use. The generic forms of Plan B One-Step include My Way, Take Action, and Next Choice One Dose. Each of these medications contains levonorgestrel, the same hormone found in birth control pills, but in a much larger dose. Plan B is a backup method of birth control to use if you had unprotected sex or your method of birth control failed (eg, a condom or missed pills). Plan B or any other kind of emergency contraceptive is not an alternative to abortion and is not the same as the abortion pill.

There are many factors that can influence the effectiveness of Plan B. The most important of these is timing. The sooner Plan B is taken after unprotected sex, the better chance it has of working to prevent pregnancy. The timing of your menstrual cycle is also an important factor in determining whether or not Plan B will work effectively. Plan B works mainly by delaying ovulation, as long as it is taken before ovulation occurs. By stopping the egg from releasing, there is nothing available for sperm to fertilize, which prevents pregnancy.  If you have already ovulated, Plan B may still work by altering the movement of sperm to make it more difficult for the egg to be fertilized. Additionally, there is a small chance that these medications could change the lining of your uterus and make it harder for an already fertilized egg to implant in the uterine lining, but current research shows that this is not likely to occur. How quickly Plan B is taken as well as where you are in your menstrual cycle are the two most important factors in determining whether it will work as intended.

There is no research to suggest that emergency contraceptives such as Plan B could harm or abort an already established pregnancy (an embryo that has implanted into the uterine lining). Although this is a type of contraceptive, it should not be taken like birth control pills. It is much less effective than birth control pills and may cause unpleasant or damaging side effects such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, menstrual changes, dizziness, and breast tenderness.  If you are experiencing any of these side effects or have specific questions about emergency contraceptives, please contact your doctor for medical advice. If you have taken an emergency contraceptive and believe you may still have become pregnant, call The HOPE Center today at 770-924-0864 for a free and confidential pregnancy test with a medical professional.

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  • Anna Muller – Nurse Manager

    Anna Muller - Nurse Manager

    I am so glad you are here. My name is Anna Muller, and I am the Nurse Manager at The HOPE Center. I love working at The HOPE Center and meeting all of the wonderful women and families that visit our clinic.