The Plan B Pill - What it is and What it isn't
By Lizzie De La Cruz
Unprotected sex happens. Fortunately, there is Plan B. Often known as the “morning-after pill” or the “day after pill,” Plan B pills are an emergency contraceptive that prevents pregnancy within 72 hours of unprotected sex. So how does it work?
What is Plan B?
Plan B pills temporarily stop ovulation (the release of an egg from the ovary) and prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus by altering the uterine lining. If that sounds scary, you should know it really is not! There are many reasons someone may choose to use Plan B. Condoms break, oral birth control is forgotten, and sometimes you just get swept up in the heat of the moment. Whatever the reason, Plan B is a safe and accessible option for those in need of an over-the-counter emergency contraceptive.
Do Plan B Pills Protect Against Infections?
No! Plan B pills do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STI). They are an emergency contraceptive only. If you have engaged in unprotected sex and believe you may have been exposed to an STI, you need to visit a clinic for testing and, if deemed necessary by medical professionals, treatment. The most effective way to protect yourself from an STI is by using condoms.
Is Plan B an Abortion?
Taking Plan B is not the same as having an abortion. Plan B pills must be taken within three days (72 hours) of unprotected sex to be effective. Within this time frame, a fertilized egg has not yet implanted, and no embryo has begun to develop. Plan B cannot terminate a pregnancy that has already implanted. Plan B should not be confused with mifepristone (Mifeprex), also known as RU-486 or the “abortion pill.”
Is it Safe?
While there are potential side effects, Plan B pills are deemed a safe emergency contraceptive by medical professionals. Side effects that may occur for a few days after taking the pill include nausea or vomiting, fatigue, headache, breast tenderness, bleeding between periods or experiencing heavier menstrual bleeding, and lower abdominal cramping. If you vomit within two hours of taking the pill, contact your doctor or pharmacist to ask if you will need another dose. Plan B is a last line of defense, not a routine contraceptive, and will not prevent STIs or HIV. To protect yourself from STIs and prevent pregnancy, it is always recommended to use barrier protection (like condoms) and a routine method of birth control.
Accessing Plan B
Plan B pills are available at your local pharmacy as an over-the-counter emergency contraceptive. Want to skip the trip? With wisp, you can get Plan B delivered to your doorstep so you can have them on hand in case of emergency (we ship the pills for free)! Within three to five days, your Plan B pills will be delivered and in your medicine cabinet. If you need immediate emergency contraception, we also offer pickup from your local pharmacy within 24 hours. There are so many reasons why you may need an emergency contraceptive, and at wisp, we respect all our client’s privacy. Our services are hassle-free and designed to make accessing Plan B pills quick, easy, and anxiety-free.