What is emergency contraception (EC)?

Often called the “morning-after pill,” it is intended to prevent pregnancy after known or suspected contraceptive failure, unprotected intercourse or forced sex.  The Plan B may also prevent the new life from implanting in the uterus, ending a very early pregnancy, rather than preventing pregnancy altogether.

How does it work?

It works primarily by preventing the egg release from the ovary but it is possible it prevents the egg and sperm from meeting.  There is also a chance that it may prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. This would end development of the newly formed life; however, it won’t disrupt an already implanted pregnancy. Clarity can do a confidential pregnancy test for you to confirm a positive test from a previous sexual encounter.  If that test shows positive then there would be no need to take “Plan B.”

What are the side effects?

They may include changes in your period, nausea, lower abdominal pain, tiredness, headache and dizziness. If your period is more than a week late, you may be pregnant.  Women who experience severe abdominal pain after taking the drug may have an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy and should get immediate medical help.

How well does it work?

Since there are only a handful of days each month when pregnancy is possible, many take Plan B One-Step when it will have zero impact on pregnancy risk.  However, studies suggest if taken within 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex it reduces pregnancy up to 89%. If taken within 24 hours, it is about 95% effective.   Please remember Plan B has no impact on preventing STI’s.

What else should you know?

There are no long-term studies on the safety of using this drug frequently over long periods of time. It does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or infections.

At Clarity Pregnancy Services, we do not provide or refer for the morning after pill. We would be happy to speak with you more about this option, if you would like. Just stop by or contact the center nearest you.

Sources: Before You Decide magazine, the morning-after pill by Vicki L. Dihle, PA-C