Is Plan B an Abortion Pill? And Other FAQs

Unprotected sex is super risky and can result in an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. Plan B can work as an emergency contraceptive or backup to normal birth control solutions, especially when taken at the right time. Discover the facts about Plan B, including whether or not it is an abortion pill and what you can expect if you ever need to take it.

What Is Plan B?

Plan B One-Step is an emergency contraception that is up to 89% effective at preventing pregnancy if taken correctly after unprotected sex. It’s available over the counter and consists of levonorgestrel, a synthetic hormone found in many birth control pills.

What Makes Plan B Different Than a Regular Birth Control Pill?

Oral contraceptives, or birth control pills, contain regulated amounts of either estrogen and progestin or progestin only, which are synthetic hormones designed to manipulate your ovulation to prevent pregnancy. Each pill in the prescribed pack contains just enough of these hormones to increase mucus buildup in the cervix to prevent sperm from reaching the uterus and to thin out the uterine lining so that an embryo cannot implant on the uterine wall.

A levonorgestrel pill is progestin-only, and it contains a much higher dose of the hormone than regular birth control pills. The goal of Plan B (or any other levonorgestrel pill) is to quickly prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg.

To strengthen your pregnancy prevention, it is recommended to begin taking combined oral contraceptive pills immediately after taking a Plan B pill. Doing so increases your likelihood of interfering with ovulation, further protecting you from an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.

Is Plan B an Abortion Pill?

Nope! Plan B works to interrupt ovulation by preventing the release of an egg into the uterus. Plan B cannot harm or destroy the embryo if an egg has already been released and fertilized. It also cannot harm an embryo that has implanted on the uterine wall. If a woman is pregnant, Plan B should not be taken, but it will not abort any zygotes or fetuses.

Are There Other Brands Like Plan B?

Yes. Plan B is the most common or well-known levonorgestrel morning-after pill, but other brands include:

  • Aftera
  • AfterPill
  • EContra
  • My Choice
  • My Way
  • Option 2
  • Preventeza
  • Take Action

Do I need a Prescription for Plan B?

Nope! Plan B is an over-the-counter medication that is available at most pharmacies or grocery stores. There are also no age restrictions for purchasing Plan B or other levonorgestrel morning-after pills. Anyone of any age or gender may purchase this emergency contraception.

When Should I Take Plan B After Unprotected Sex?

Plan B should be taken sooner rather than later, ideally the next morning or within the first three days (72 hours). You can take Plan B up to five days after unprotected sex; however, the longer you wait, the less effective the contraception becomes.

Are There Weight Restrictions to Plan B?

No, and yes. The Plan B box has no warnings or disclaimers about how weight may influence the pill’s effectiveness. However, it is important to know that women over 165 pounds can find Plan B less effective, and women over 176 pounds may find its effectiveness reduced even further.

Some studies have shown that women who weighed more than 176 pounds and took levonorgestrel pills became pregnant just as frequently as women who did not take any emergency contraception.

Can I Take Plan B More Than Once?

Yes. You can take Plan B or another levonorgestrel morning-after pill as many times as necessary to prevent pregnancy.

  • If yours is a single-dose pill, you only have to take it once following unprotected sex. If it is a double-dose pill, take the first pill as soon as possible and the second pill 12 hours later.
  • If you have unprotected sex following the consumption of your Plan B pill, you can take another Plan B or levonorgestrel pill as soon as possible (within 72 hours following sex).
  • If you take the pill but vomit soon after, you will need to take another pill as soon as you can hold food down.

It is possible to find yourself in need of Plan B often. However, Plan B should not be used as a routine birth control option. Talk to your provider about more reliable birth control options.

Is Plan B a Viable Form of Birth Control?

No. Plan B is a viable form of emergency contraception, but it should not be used as your single form of birth control. There is an elevated risk of pregnancy if you only rely on Plan B or another levonorgestrel morning-after pill. Speak with your provider about more reliable birth control solutions, such as:

  • Birth control pills
  • IUDs
  • Birth control implants
  • Depo-Provera injections
  • Vaginal contraceptive rings

Are There Side Effects to Taking Plan B?

Yes. Some women can experience side effects after taking Plan B that include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Breast soreness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Interruption of the menstrual cycle
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you experience these side effects, you should feel most symptoms fade within 24 hours after taking the pill. Your menstrual cycle may remain out of whack or seem different for the month, but it should return to normal in the following months.

Still Curious About the Safety and Effects of Plan B? Speak With Women’s Clinic of Atlanta.

Our medical professionals are available to answer your questions about Plan B and inform you of all your birth control options, including oral contraceptives, Depo-Provera injections, barrier methods, and more.

Schedule a birth control consultation by texting “appointment” to 404-777-4771 today.

Women’s Clinic of Atlanta is HIPAA compliant and AAAHC accredited.

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