What is Plan B?
Plan B One-Step, also known as the morning-after pill, is a single tablet that you can take to prevent pregnancy if you have had unprotected sex, missed your scheduled birth control, or suspect that your birth control may have failed.
Some situations where you might want to use plan B include: your partner’s condom tore, you lost track of your “safe days”, you missed one or more doses of your regular birth control, your diaphragm slipped out of place, you were forced to have sex. Using the withdrawal method is not a reliable method of contraception in general, however, if unintentional ejaculation occurs during penetration, Plan B can be used to prevent pregnancy.
Plan B is meant as an emergency contraceptive only and does not replace regular birth control methods. It is very important that you use regular birth control if you are sexually active and do not intend to become pregnant. There are many different methods of birth control available. Talk to your physician about your options to find out which one is best for you.
Plan B does not in any way affect your chances of getting pregnant in the future. However, please note that Plan B is not indicated for termination of an existing pregnancy (abortion) and does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. Do not use Plan B if you are pregnant or think you might be pregnant.
How does Plan B work?
Plan B contains levonorgestrel, a synthetic (man-made) version of the hormone progesterone, which is produced by the ovaries. Plan B contains a higher dose of levonorgestrel (1.5 mg) than other levonorgestrel-containing birth control pills. Levonorgestrel works by delaying or stopping the release of an egg from the ovary.
How effective is Plan B One-Step?
Plan B One-Step is most effective when taken soon after having unprotected sex; its efficacy will subsequently begin to decrease, the longer the interval between intercourse and ingesting the pill. If taken within 24 hours, levonorgestrel pills can reduce the risk of pregnancy by up to 95%; after around 72 hours, effectivity drops to around 89%. Therefore, it is important that the pill is taken as soon as possible after sex for it to have optimum effect.
Who should take Plan B One-Step?
Plan B One-Step is intended for women who have had unprotected sex within a period of 72 hours and wish to prevent pregnancy. There are several circumstances under which a woman is at risk of becoming pregnant unintentionally. These include:
- Having sex during the fertile window without contraception
- Not using any birth control during sex
- Failure of a birth control method, (i.e. condom splitting, diaphragm moving out of place)
- Missing one or more doses of birth control pills
- Forgetting to apply a new patch or ring
- Unintentional ejaculation while using the withdrawal method
- Nonconsensual sex