How Long Does Plan B Prevent Pregnancy

How Long Does Plan B Work

Pharmacist explains Plan B Contraceptive! Things you NEED to know!

Plan B One Step is an emergency contraceptive used to prevent pregnancy from occurring after an act of unprotected sexual intercourse. You can take Plan B if you had sex without using any protection at all, or if you did use protection but you think it may have failed such as if a condom broke or slipped, or you think you may have skipped a dose of your regular daily oral contraceptive.

So, does taking Plan B mean that youre safe for a while? How long does Plan B actually work?

Can Taking The Morning After Pill Affect Fertility

The short answer: no. Though some myths claim that taking the morning after pill can affect your ability to reproduce, that are just that: myths. In fact, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists even repeated use of Plan B is perfectly safe and wont affect your fertility at all.

How Does Emergency Contraception Work

Emergency oral contraception works primarily by delaying ovulation. Hormone-based medications such as levonorgestrel pills may prevent pregnancy by temporarily blocking eggs from being released, by stopping fertilization, or by keeping a fertilized egg from becoming implanted in the uterus.

Ella blocks the effects of key hormones necessary for conception.

IUDs work by stopping implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus.

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Does Plan B Work During Ovulation

Morning-after pills are most effective before ovulation. This is because they stop an egg from being released from the ovary so theres no egg available to get fertilized by sperm. But if youve already ovulated, the pill may prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg.

If enough time has passed after unprotected sex and an egg has already been fertilized, Plan B may stop the egg from implanting in the uterus. But if the fertilized egg has already been implanted in the womb before taking Plan B, its unfortunately too late, and it wont prevent pregnancy. Timing is key here.

After having sex, it can take up to six days for an egg to get fertilized and another three to four days for the fertilized egg to implant itself into the uterine lining. If youre within your fertile window, using the copper IUD as emergency contraception is a safer option to avoid pregnancy.

It may also be helpful to know that if you take a morning-after pill and are already pregnant, it wont harm the fetus.

How Effective Is Levonorgestrel

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If you take the pill within 72 hours after you’ve had unprotected sex, levonorgestrel can reduce the risk of pregnancy by up to 87% if taken as directed. If you take Plan B One-Step within 24 hours, it is much more effective.

But you should know that Plan B One-Step is not as effective as regular contraception. So don’t take it as a form of birth control. And, it does not protect you against sexually transmitted diseases. Think of it as a backup — not for routine use. That’s why it’s called Plan B. Get more information on emergency contraception and its effectiveness.

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How Long Do I Have To Get Emergency Contraception

You can use emergency contraception up to five days after unprotected sex. So its important to act quickly so you have the best options possible. It can take time to get emergency contraception, so the sooner you start looking for it, the better.

IUDs and ella are just as effective throughout the five days. Plan B, My Way, Take Action, and other levonorgestrel morning-after pills work less well after three days .

How Long Is Plan B Effective

Its best to take Plan B as soon as possible since it works best within the first three days. You can take it up to five days after unprotected sex, but it wont work as well by the fifth day. Once ingested, its only effective for a maximum of about five days. After this amount of time, the hormones that were in the pill will have left the body. The maximum amount of time that it stays in the body coincides with the amount of time that sperm can live inside the female reproductive tractabout five to six days.

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Who Should Not Take Plan B

Even though Plan B is very effective, it isnt right for everyone and is less effective under the following circumstances:

  • Its less effective the longer you wait to take it, so take it as soon as possible.
  • Its not effective if youre already ovulating.

If you have a BMI thats 30 or greater, a copper IUD or the Ella morning-after pill may be better options for you. The Paragard IUD is almost 99.9% effective at preventing pregnancy if it is put in within five days after unprotected sex, and once inserted, can prevent pregnancy for up to 12 years.

Ella emergency contraception works to prevent pregnancy up to five days after sex and lowers the risk of pregnancy by about 85%. However, you should not take Plan B or other morning-after pills containing levonorgestrel if you have taken Ella since your last period.

Note: Unlike the Plan B pill, the Ella morning-after pill requires a prescription from a doctor to obtain. The Paragard IUD is available by prescription and through your doctor or family planning clinic. Youll need your OB-GYN to insert the IUD, so if you decide to go that route, call the office as soon as possible and explain the situation so they can bring you in quickly to insert the IUD.

How To Use Plan B

Emergency Contraception – Plan B, Morning After, Copper IUDs

Plan B is an oral tablet. A person should follow all instructions on the product and talk with a healthcare professional if they have any questions.

Kaiser Permanente recommends that individuals take one tablet with or without food within 72 hours after having unprotected sex. If they vomit within 2 hours, a doctor can advise whether it is best to take another pill.

A person should let their doctor know if they have had unexplained vaginal bleeding before taking the Plan B pill.

It is best to see a doctor 3 weeks after taking levonorgestrel contraception. They can check that the pill has worked and the individual is not pregnant or experiencing any harmful effects.

Plan B or other levonorgestrel pills are not intended for regular birth control use. Those who are breastfeeding should also seek medical advice before taking any of these drugs, as these can slow breast milk production.

Emergency contraceptive pills work only after one episode of unprotected sex. That said, individuals who engage in sexual activity without any barrier methods in the same month should take the pill again.

According to Planned Parenthood, Plan B and other levonorgestrel morning-after pills are available without a prescription for persons of any age.

They can buy it from an online provider or schedule a pick-up at their local pharmacy.

The following are the platforms and companies that offer the Plan B One-Step pill:

Shipping is free with an order of $34.99.

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How Long Can You Wait To Take Plan B

The sooner you take Plan B after unprotected sex, the better. “The efficacy of Plan B is the best when you take it within 12 hours, and it goes down from there,” says Nichole Butler, MD, board-certified OB-GYN at Weiss Memorial Hospital’s Women’s Health Center.You can take Plan B up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. However, the pill’s effectiveness at preventing pregnancy dwindles the later you take it:

  • Within 24 hours of sex: 95% effective
  • Between 24-48 hours after sex: 85% effective
  • Between 48-72 hours after sex: 61% effective

It only takes a couple of hours for Plan B to kick into effect, says Butler. A 2018 review found that peak levels of levonorgestrel in your blood will typically be around 1.7 hours after taking the pill.

Note: If you weigh 155 pounds or more, you should opt for another kind of emergency contraception pill called Ella. Ella can be used up to 120 hours after unprotected sex, though it’s more effective the sooner you take it.

How Do I Use Emergency Contraception

Following package directions, take EC as soon as possible after unprotected sex. The sooner you start the EC, the more effective it is in preventing pregnancy. Eating a snack or drinking a glass of milk can help reduce nausea.

EC is taken as one or two doses or pills, depending on the product. Take the first pill as soon as possible and, if there is a second pill, you may take it 12 hours later, or take it at the same time the next day.

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What Is The Morning After Pill

The ‘morning after’ pill is a type of emergency contraception that can be used within a few days of unprotected sex. It is usually effective, but not always. It shouldnt be used as regular contraception.

The emergency contraception pill is taken soon after sex to reduce the risk of pregnancy.

The name is misleading the morning after pill can be taken up to 3 or up to 5 days after sex, depending on the type of pill.

It used to be called the morning after pill, but it can be taken up to 3 or up to 5 days after sex, depending on the type of pill. However, the sooner it is taken after unprotected sex, the more effective it is.

The Emergency Contraceptive Pill

Unprotected sex and no pregnancy. Unprotected sex and no ...

Levonelle contains levonorgestrel and has to be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. EllaOne contains ulipristal acetate and is licensed to be taken within 120 hours of unprotected sex.

Both Levonelle and ellaOne are effective only if taken before the release of an egg from the ovary . The sooner you take Levonelle or ellaOne, the more effective it will be.

Ovulation is triggered by rising levels of a hormone called luteinising hormone .

Levonelle appears not to be effective after levels of LH start to rise. EllaOne continues to be effective a little later in the cycle.

A 2017 review of the evidence estimated that around 1 to 2% of women who take ellaOne after unprotected sex will become pregnant. In comparison, it’s estimated that 0.6 to 2.6% of women who take Levonelle after unprotected sex will become pregnant.

The effectiveness of both Levonelle or ellaOne may be reduced if a woman has a high body mass index . This makes it harder to provide a more precise estimate for either pill.

Get medical advice if you vomit within 2 hours of taking Levonelle or 3 hours of taking ellaOne. You’ll need to take another dose or have an IUD fitted.

Find out more about emergency contraception, including how it works and possible side effects.

Page last reviewed: 22 August 2019 Next review due: 22 August 2022

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Shifting To Regular Contraception

Following use of ECPs, women or girls may resume or initiate a regular method of contraception. If a copper IUD is used for emergency contraception, no additional contraceptive protection is needed.

Following administration of ECPs with levonorgestrel or combined oral contraceptive pills , women or girls may resume their contraceptive method, or start any contraceptive method immediately, including a copper-bearing IUD.

Following use of ECPs with ulipristal acetate , women or girls may resume or start any progestogen containing method on the 6th day after taking UPA. They can have an LNG-IUD inserted immediately if it can be determined they are not pregnant. They can have the copper IUD inserted immediately.

Research Findings Vs Fda Labeling

Monique Rainford, MD, is board-certified in obstetrics-gynecology, and currently serves as an Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale Medicine. She is the former chief of obstetrics-gynecology at Yale Health.

Plan B One-Step is an emergency contraceptive. Emergency contraceptives are used to prevent pregnancy after birth control failure or unprotected sex. Generic forms of Plan B include My Way, Take Action, and Next Choice One Dose.

Emergency contraception is safe and effective. Still, Plan B is controversial. Much of the debate is based on a misunderstanding about how Plan B works.

Some people believe Plan B prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the lining of the uterus. This belief is based on the product’s FDA labeling. Research, however, has not confirmed the information on the FDA label.

This article will discuss the controversy around the FDA labeling for Plan B. It will also look at what research says about how Plan B actually works.

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Are There Other Ec Pills You Can Take


If youre looking for an EC pill thats more effective longer after unprotected sex, consider ella.

Its known as an ulipristal acetate pill. It works by delaying or preventing ovulation.

Most importantly, it is said to remain consistently effective when taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex, reducing the risk of pregnancy .

Its also more suitable for people with a higher BMI or weight. The only drawback is that you need a prescription to get hold of ella. Plus, it can be pricier than Plan B.

Copper IUD

Theres one other type of EC, but it doesnt come in the form of a pill.

A copper intrauterine device can be inserted into the uterus to prevent fertilization up to 5 days after unprotected sex.

Its if inserted within a 120-hour timeframe.

Of course, youll need to book an appointment with a healthcare professional to get an IUD.

But the best part is that you can use it as a regular form of birth control afterwards.

Can Plan B Make It Difficult To Get Pregnant

How Does the Morning After Pill/Emergency Contraception Work? | Planned Parenthood Video

The good news is that, when taken promptlywithin 72 hours or three days of unprotected sexPlan B can reduce your likelihood of becoming pregnant by up to 89 percent. However, it is important that you take Plan B as soon as you are able, as its effectiveness decreases the longer you wait to take it.

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Where Can You Get It

Plan B is available over the counter at drugstores and pharmacies. So you dont need a prescription or ID when buying it.

You may find it in the family planning aisle or need to ask the pharmacist to get it if its behind the counter.

Family planning clinics and local health departments, as well as Planned Parenthood centers, also offer the morning-after pill.

If youd rather buy it online, you can buy directly from the manufacturer. Note that delivery takes around 4 to 6 days.

Stores like Walgreens and CVS also sell Plan B online.

Remember to always buy from a reputable retailer and try to buy in advance, as you cant guarantee when itll be delivered.

Pregnancy Symptoms After Plan B

Sometimes emergency contraception methods fail and pregnancy occurs. Do drugs have a negative effect on the fetus?

In some cases, in order to prevent unwanted pregnancy, you should undertake activities after unprotected intercourse. This contraceptive method is called emergency or post-coital. To date, there are special devices , as well as medications for emergency prevention of an unwanted pregnancy.

However, none of the existing methods of emergency contraception gives 100 % guarantee of efficiency. There is always a risk that the drug might not work, and successfully fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the uterus. In this case, the question arises: do emergency contraceptives have a negative effect on the fetus? Should a woman terminate a pregnancy if emergency contraception fails?

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How Long Do I Have To Take Plan B For

Plan B One-Step consists of one pill, which should be taken as soon as possible after having unprotected sex, missing a contraceptive pill, or contraception failure.

The pill can be taken with or without food, and should be swallowed whole, preferably with water. Plan B should be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, for a higher efficacy rate.

Where Can I Get Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception, Combination Birth Control Pill ...

Emergency contraception pills are available at drugstores Planned Parenthood college, public, and women’s health centers private doctors and some hospital emergency rooms.

Depending on your age, you donât need a prescription for most brands. You do need a prescription for Ella and some other types. Birth control pills also require a prescription.

If a prescription is needed, some doctors will prescribe emergency contraceptive pills over the phone and call the prescription into a pharmacy.

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If Your Cycle Is Altered By Plan B How Will You Know That You’re Not Pregnant

Experiencing vaginal bleeding after taking Plan B could be a sign that you aren’t pregnant. “You may experience bleeding similar to a period after taking Plan B, which may indicate that fertilization has not occurred,” notes Kakani.

Your cycle should also go back to normal soon. Most of the changes caused by emergency contraceptives like Plan B do not persist beyond one menstrual cycle.

If your period is over a week late after you’ve taken Plan B, there’s a chance that you may be pregnant, so consider taking a pregnancy test.

When To See A Doctor Or Other Healthcare Professional

Any time you feel unsure, reach out to a doctor or other healthcare professional.

That could be after having sex without a barrier and needing advice on emergency contraception, or it could be after getting a positive result from a pregnancy test.

You can even speak with a doctor about contraception in general. Theyll be able to advise you on safe, long-term options.

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