Plan B, or the morning-after pill, is emergency contraception that can be used if your condom breaks, you missed a birth control pill, or you have unprotected sex. It’s available over the counter and without a prescription for people 17 and older.
It can reduce the chance of pregnancy by 75 to 89 percent when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. But can you take Plan B before sex?
What is Plan B?
Plan B is a type of emergency contraception, or EC, that can help prevent pregnancy when someone has unprotected sex, misses a pill, or has a contraceptive failure. It works by temporarily delaying ovulation, so the sperm has no egg to meet and fertilize. The sooner you take Plan B, the better it works. It’s also known as the morning-after pill, and it can be taken by people of any age to reduce their chances of getting pregnant.
Plan B, which contains the hormone levonorgestrel, is usually effective if it’s taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex or a birth control failure. Some people who are near ovulation or who are taking certain medications may find that it’s less effective, though.
Side effects from Plan B can include nausea, vomiting, or pelvic pain. These side effects are generally mild and will go away quickly. It’s important to drink plenty of water while using Plan B, and to eat food that’s low in fat and sugar. If you experience severe stomach pain, contact your healthcare provider immediately.
Some women also find that EC affects the timing of their periods. They may get their period earlier or find that it’s heavier than usual. This is not a problem for most people, but it’s worth keeping in mind when planning your menstrual cycle.
How does Plan B work?
Plan B is an emergency contraceptive pill that works by preventing ovulation and preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg. It also changes the lining of the uterus, which makes it impossible for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus and lead to pregnancy. Plan B and other levonorgestrel pills are effective if taken as soon as possible, within 72 hours of unprotected sex. It is important to note that this pill doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections like HIV.
Plan B contains a larger dose of the synthetic hormone levonorgestrel than what is found in birth control pills. This larger dose is what makes the pill more effective when it’s taken right after a missed period or after unprotected sex.
If the person takes Plan B after ovulation, it will still prevent pregnancy, but it won’t interfere with the fertilization process or change the endometrium. This is why experts recommend that people use Plan B as a secondary form of birth control and not as their primary method.
Plan B and other emergency contraceptive pills are available over the counter and can be purchased at most pharmacies. A person should keep a record of nonprescription and prescription medications that they are taking, so that they can share it with their doctor or pharmacist to avoid any drug interactions. It is also important to note that some medications, like certain seizure medications, make Plan B less effective.
Can I take Plan B before sex?
Sometimes a condom breaks, you forget to take your birth control pill, or your lubricant runs out – whatever the reason, emergencies happen. Luckily, modern medicine has made it possible to prevent pregnancy with emergency contraception like Plan B (sometimes known as the morning-after pill). Plan B works by delaying ovulation and thinning the uterus lining so that an egg and sperm can’t meet. It’s available over the counter, and there are no age or sex restrictions for buying it.
However, Plan B is not effective if you’ve already ovulated, and it starts to lose its effectiveness over time. You can check for ovulation by using over-the-counter ovulation monitoring strips, or you can monitor your menstrual cycle to see when you’re most likely to ovulate.
If you do decide to take the morning-after pill, it’s important to do so as soon as possible after unprotected sex. The higher the levels of the active ingredient in your body, the more effective it will be. It’s also important to remember that some medications can interfere with how well Plan B works, such as some seizure medications.
It’s also a good idea to keep a stash of Plan B in your medicine cabinet, so that it’s easy to access when you need it. Storing it in extreme temperatures (like your car in the summer or winter) can make it less effective.
What are the risks of taking Plan B before sex?
Plan B is a form of emergency contraception that works to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or when your primary birth control method fails. It contains levonorgestrel, a synthetic hormone that stops or delays ovulation, fertilization, and the implantation of a fertilized egg. It is most effective when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. It can be bought at most pharmacies, but it is less expensive to purchase generic levonorgestrel pills from family planning clinics or local health departments.
The main risk of Plan B is that it may not be as effective if it’s taken after ovulation occurs. It delays the ovulation of an egg by suppressing the rise of the hormone luteinizing hormone (LH), but LH is typically the first sign that ovulation is imminent. If you’re unsure whether you are about to ovulate, over-the-counter ovulation tests can be used to monitor the onset of your menstrual cycle.
Another risk is that the pill can interfere with some medications, including HIV drugs and antiseizure medicines. You should check the label on your medication and ask a pharmacist about any interactions with other medications you take. If you’re taking these medications, you should not take Plan B One-Step or any other form of emergency contraception that contains levonorgestrel. Instead, consider using the birth control pill Ella, which has a longer window of effectiveness and can also be purchased at many places where you can get prescription insurance.