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Facts About...

(Plan B™)

What is it?

The emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) is also known as the “morning after pill”. ECP may be used up to 5 days (120) hours after unprotected sex. This may include forgetting to take or not using birth control, condom breakage or leakage, or for a victim of sexual assault. ECP works by preventing the release of an egg from the ovary, and preventing the sperm and egg from uniting. It will not work and should not be taken if you are already pregnant, or if you think you are.

How effective is it?

ECP is 89% effective. The sooner ECP is taken, the more effective it is. ECP should be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex but not more than 120 hours. Consult with your health care provider about other emergency contraceptive methods if you weigh over 165lbs (75kg).

What are the side effects associated with this method?

Nausea, vomiting, fatigue, breast tenderness, headache, and abdominal pain may be associated with ECP. It can also cause changes to your next menstrual period.

What are the benefits?

ECP can be purchased over the counter without a prescription.

What are the limitations?

ECP is not as effective as other forms of contraception and therefore is not intended for use on an ongoing basis. It does not provide ongoing protection against becoming pregnant. It is meant for single use and emergency protection only.

What are the effects on breastfeeding?

  • No adverse effects on the growth or development on the infant have been observed.
  • ECP may reduce breast milk supply.
  • If you are currently breastfeeding and plan to use ECP follow up with your health care provider.

You should know…

  • Take Plan B as soon as possible and not more than 120 hours after unprotected sex or a known or suspected birth control method failure.
  • Women who weigh 165 pounds or more should ask a health care provider for advice on other methods of emergency contraception.
  • If you vomit within two hours of taking ECP, contact your health care provider. You will need to take another dose.
  • If your period is delayed more than one week from when it was expected, you should take a pregnancy test.
  • Plan B does not protect against HIV-infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Always use a condom.

December 1, 2015