Emergency Contraceptive Pills

“Plan B®” is currently the most commonly prescribed “emergency contraception” or morning after pill. Plan B® is an extremely high dosage of chemical hormones.

Plan B® is thought to work by delaying ovulation (the release of the egg from the ovary), by interfering with fertilization (the penetration of the egg by the sperm), or by interfering with implantation (the attachment of the fertilized egg to the wall of the uterus).

Women considering the use of emergency contraception need to be aware that pregnancy can only occur on certain days of the month, there may not be a need for emergency contraception. Typically, there are approximately three to five days a month in which a woman can get pregnant. It is important to evaluate whether taking a high dosage of chemical hormones with the possible side effects are the best action to take.

According to the manufacturers of Plan B®, women who have a known or suspected pregnancy should not take the pills. A pregnancy test should be performed. The emergency contraceptive pills do not work if you are already pregnant and may harm the baby. Our consultants are available to talk to you about your concerns. Call us at (831) 637-4020 or 1-800-395-HELP after hours.

Know the Risks Associated with the Morning-After Pill

The morning after pill Plan B® is a relatively new drug; the long term effects with occasional or repeated use have not been studied.

Some of the commonly reported side effects are nausea, abdominal pain, tiredness, headache, menstrual changes, dizziness, breast tenderness, and vomiting. Taking Plan B® often causes irregular periods. A woman may experience heavier bleeding, lighter bleeding, or a delayed period. It may take time for a women’s body to return to normal and stabilize itself.

Women with pelvic inflammatory disease should not take the morning after pill Plan B, except under a physician’s careful monitoring. Women who have diabetes should be closely monitored while taking Plan B.

Taking Plan B® increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy. Even a small delay in diagnosing an ectopic pregnancy can be fatal.

Plan B® does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. It is generally recommended that any sexually active woman seek testing for sexually transmitted diseases.

The overall effectiveness of the morning-after pills is approximately 75%.