Plan B is an emergency contraceptive pill used to prevent pregnancy after having unprotected intercourse or in case of contraceptive failure. Emergency contraceptive pills should not be used as the primary form of contraception.

Keep reading this article to learn more about how Plan B works and what factors affect its efficacy. 

Why care about how Plan B works?

It is vital to understand how the medicine works to get the desired effects. Various factors may prevent the Plan B medication from working to prevent unwanted pregnancies. On the other hand, some precautions can help increase the medication’s efficacy. Hence, it is vital to understand how the medicine  works within a woman’s body. 

The Plan B pill and ovulation

If taken incorrectly, Plan B and other emergency contraception pills won’t work as intended at preventing an unwanted pregnancy.  Hence, it is crucial to understand when the pill should be taken properly, especially during or after ovulation. 

What is ovulation?

Ovulation is the process in which a mature egg is released from the ovary. After the release of the egg, it moves towards the fallopian tube, where the egg can be fertilized. Ovulation typically happens around the midpoint of your cycle about 14 days before your period. However, it’s hard to know if and when ovulation has happened since it can vary from woman to woman and from month to month. 

Does Plan B work during ovulation?

Some research indicate that Plan B and similar emergency contraceptive pills don’t work as well if it’s taken on the day of ovulation or after. This is because Plan B works best when the active ingredient delays ovulation, so that sperm cannot fertilize the egg. 

ALSO READ  Understanding IUDs: Effectiveness, Side effects, Advantages & more

However, if you’ve had unprotected intercourse, you can still take Plan B regardless of where you are in your cycle. Plan B may still work by preventing fertilization even if you’ve just ovulated. It’s also hard to know when ovulation happens exactly, so don’t write off Plan B as an option just because you think you might be ovulating. 

How does Plan B work after ovulation?

Plan B works mainly by stopping the release of the egg from the ovary temporarily. It also prevents fertilization if ovulation has occurred. If the egg has been fertilized, the medication may also  prevent it from attaching to the uterus wall. You can take Plan B after unprotected intercourse at any point in your cycle, even if you think you have already ovulated. 

If you are already pregnant (meaning a fertilized egg is already implanted in your uterus), plan B does not terminate the pregnancy. 

How does Plan B work to prevent pregnancy?

Plan B contains levonorgestrel as its active ingredient. It contains a 1.5 mg dose of levonorgestrel in a single pill.

The medication works mainly by stopping the release of the egg from the ovary temporarily. It also prevents fertilization if ovulation has occurred. If the egg has been fertilized, the medication may also prevent it from attaching to the uterus wall. 

What can I do to increase chances of the Plan B Pill working?

Plan B emergency contraceptive should be taken within the first 72 hours of unprotected intercourse or contraception failure. 

It works best if you take it within 12 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse.  When you take Plan B within 24 hours of unprotected sex, its efficacy is 95%. If you  wait until 48 to 72 hours after unprotected sex, its efficacy rate drops to 61%. 

If you vomit within 2 hours of taking Plan B, you may need to take another dose to give the medication the best chance of working. This is especially true if you can see the pill in your vomit. If you aren’t sure, contact your pharmacist for their recommendation. 

ALSO READ  Is the IUD Procedure Painful?

What factors can prevent the Plan B Pill from working properly?

The sooner you take Plan B, the better it will work. Although it can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, it becomes less effective the longer you wait. When you take Plan B within the first 24 hours, it is 95% effective at preventing pregnancy. If you wait until 48 to 72 hours, the effectiveness drops to 61%. 

The Plan B pill is meant to be just that – a just-in-case “plan B”. It does not work well if you rely on it as your main method of contraception. Make sure you have a ‘plan A’ for preventing pregnancy, like a birth control pill, patch, ring, IUD, condom, or other method. 

Plan B may not work as well in women who weigh more than 75 kg (165 pounds). If this applies to you, it may be a good idea to talk to a doctor about an alternative option (for example, the copper IUD) to prevent pregnancy. 

What are some of the signs that the Plan B Pill did not work?

The most critical sign that Plan B did not work is if you miss your period. After taking the medication, your period may be delayed by up to one week (for some women).

If your period is delayed more than one week, it is possible Plan B did not work. Take a pregnancy test to see if you are pregnant. 

The other signs and symptoms that are indicative that Plan B did not work are:

  • Frequent urination
  • Morning sickness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Breast changes
  • Spotting
  • Fatigue
  • Cramping
  • Changes in food choices
  • Exaggerated reactions to certain smells 
Read More... 443 Views