Carmelle Stauffer

Written by Carmelle Stauffer

Modified & Updated: 18 Jul 2024

12-facts-about-what-does-plan-b-do
Source: Singlecare.com

Plan B, often called the "morning-after pill," is a type of emergency contraception. What does Plan B do? Plan B works primarily by preventing ovulation, which means it stops the release of an egg from the ovary. If there's no egg, there's nothing for sperm to fertilize. It also thickens cervical mucus, making it harder for sperm to reach any egg that might have been released. Additionally, it can alter the uterine lining, making it less likely for a fertilized egg to implant. Plan B is most effective when taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex but can still work up to five days later.

Table of Contents

What is Plan B?

Plan B, also known as the "morning-after pill," is an emergency contraceptive designed to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. It's a popular choice for many due to its accessibility and effectiveness. Here are some key facts about how Plan B works.

  1. Plan B contains levonorgestrel: This synthetic hormone is similar to the natural hormone progesterone. It helps prevent ovulation, which means no egg is released for sperm to fertilize.

  2. Timing is crucial: Plan B is most effective when taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex. The sooner it's taken, the better it works.

  3. Not an abortion pill: Plan B does not terminate an existing pregnancy. It works by preventing pregnancy from occurring in the first place.

How Does Plan B Work?

Understanding the mechanics behind Plan B can help demystify its function and effectiveness. Here are some insights into how it operates within the body.

  1. Delays ovulation: By delaying the release of an egg, Plan B reduces the chance of sperm meeting an egg.

  2. Thickens cervical mucus: This makes it harder for sperm to reach any egg that might have been released.

  3. Alters the uterine lining: Changes in the uterine lining make it less likely for a fertilized egg to implant and grow.

Side Effects of Plan B

Like any medication, Plan B can have side effects. Knowing what to expect can help users feel more prepared.

  1. Nausea and vomiting: Some people may feel sick to their stomach after taking Plan B.

  2. Changes in menstrual cycle: Periods might come earlier or later than usual, and the flow could be lighter or heavier.

  3. Fatigue and dizziness: Feeling tired or dizzy is a common side effect.

Effectiveness and Limitations

While Plan B is a reliable form of emergency contraception, it's not foolproof. Here are some important points about its effectiveness and limitations.

  1. Not 100% effective: Plan B significantly reduces the risk of pregnancy but doesn't eliminate it entirely.

  2. Weight considerations: Effectiveness may decrease in individuals over a certain weight, typically around 165 pounds.

  3. Not a regular contraceptive: Plan B is designed for emergency use and should not replace regular birth control methods.

Plan B is a valuable tool for preventing unintended pregnancies, but understanding its function, side effects, and limitations is crucial for making informed decisions.

Key Points to Remember

Plan B, also known as the morning-after pill, is an emergency contraceptive designed to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. It works primarily by delaying ovulation, ensuring no egg is available for fertilization. It's most effective when taken within 72 hours but can work up to 120 hours after intercourse. Plan B doesn't terminate an existing pregnancy and isn't an abortion pill. Side effects may include nausea, fatigue, and headaches, but these are generally mild and short-lived. It's available over-the-counter without a prescription for individuals of any age. While Plan B is a valuable option for emergency contraception, it shouldn't replace regular birth control methods. Always consult a healthcare provider for personalized advice and to explore long-term contraceptive options. Understanding how Plan B works helps make informed decisions about reproductive health.

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