Plan B: The Facts

Plan B, also known as the “morning after” pill, is a form of emergency contraception. Sometimes the original plan for contraception doesn’t work out, and because of this, we offer Plan B at all of our clinic locations.

So, what exactly is Plan B and how does it work? Let’s explore the facts and what you can expect should you need to take it.

What is Plan B & How does it work?

Plan B emergency contraception helps prevent pregnancy when taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex or birth control failure. The sooner it’s taken, the better it works.

It contains levonorgestrel, the same hormone used in many birth control pills—just at a higher dose. It should not be used as a regular method of birth control because it’s not as effective. It also does not protect the body from STDs.

Plan B is often confused with medication abortion, or the “abortion pill”. It is important to note that Plan B will not terminate an existing pregnancy.

Emergency contraception works by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary. It may also prevent fertilization of an egg (the uniting of sperm with the egg) and/or prevent attachment (implantation) to the uterus (womb).

What are the side effects?

Some people experience side effects when taking Plan B, which may include:

  • Lighter, heavier, early or late period
  • Nausea
  • Lower abdominal cramps
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Breast tenderness
  • Vomiting

Some people may have changes in their period, such as spotting or bleeding before their next period. If your period is more than a week late, you should get a pregnancy test and follow up with your healthcare provider. If you vomit within 2 hours of taking the medication, call a healthcare provider to find out if you should repeat the dose. If you experience severe abdominal pain, you may have an ectopic (outside the uterus) pregnancy and should get immediate medical attention.

Where can I get it?

Plan B is sold at many retail stores, right on the shelf. It can be purchased without a prescription. We also have Plan B available at all of our clinics – find a clinic near you.

If you have additional questions about Plan B, regular birth control, or reproductive health, call our EmpowerLine at 877-835-1090.