What Is The Plan B Pill?
Compared to most contraceptive options, Plan B (or the morning after pill) is an oral contraceptive that you can take after having sex to prevent pregnancy. There are two types of ECP: a levonorgestrel-based (progestin-only) tablet and a ulipristal acetate (UPA) pill.
How Does The Plan B Pill Work?
The morning after pill works in a multitude of ways. Usually, it delays or stops an egg from being released from the ovaries. But it can also block the sperm from fertilising the egg, thin out the uterine lining, and prevent a fertilised egg from implanting in the uterus.
Because it prevents ovulation, fertilisation, or implantation in the first place, it is important to note that Plan B is not an abortion pill. If you are already pregnant (i.e. the egg has been fertilised and implanted in the uterus), the morning after pill will have no effect.
Is There A Difference Between Generic ECP And A Branded One?
While you can opt for the big brand names for your ECP, you can save some money by buying generics at a lower price. As long as the generic brand has the same dosage (1.5mg for levonorgestrel and 30mg for ulipristal acetate), then you can be reassured that it will work just as well as the branded product.
When Should You Take The Morning After Pill?
The time frame is everything when it comes to Plan B. For maximum effectiveness, you should always take the morning after pill as soon as possible. Levonorgestrel tablets are most effective within 72 hours after unprotected sex while UPA is effective until 120 hours after the deed.
How Effective Is Plan B?
Taking the morning after pill immediately significantly increases its effectiveness. If you complete the dosage within 24 hours from having unprotected sex, you are up to 95% protected. Taking it within 72 hours reduces that to 89%, but it’s still quite effective.
What Are The Factors That Affect The Morning After Pill’s Effectiveness?
The biggest factor that can affect Plan B (aside from when you take it) is your weight. The Plan B pill is shown to be less effective in women with a higher BMI or weight higher than 75kg. Certain medication may also interact with levonorgestrel, so consult a doctor if you’re taking medication, especially for tuberculosis, seizures, or HIV/AIDS.
Does Plan B Interfere With Birth Control?
The morning after pill does not interfere with birth control. In fact, some birth control pills contain levonorgestrel, the same active ingredient in Plan B. However, using the morning after pill in conjunction with other hormonal BCP may exacerbate the side effects, so be prepared for that.
What Are Plan B’s Side Effects?
Taking a large dose of hormones is bound to have some serious side effects. The common side effects of the morning after pill are similar to those of hormonal birth control and the symptoms of PMS. These include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stomach pain
- Anxiety and/or depression
- Headaches and dizziness
- Changed menstrual cycle
- Breast pain
Besides the immediate side effects, however, the morning after pill is quite safe to take. It is not any more dangerous to your long-term sexual and reproductive health compared to other forms of birth control. It does not affect your ability to have children in the long run, and most side effects are manageable with some bed rest.
Can You Have Sex After Taking The Morning After Pill?
You can resume sexual activity after taking the morning after pill. BUT it’s important to use another form of birth control as well, such as condoms or birth control pills. If you start BCP after taking Plan B, you must use condoms if you have sex in the first 7 days of the pack.
Does Plan B Get Less Effective The More You Take It?
Scientific research and reviews have proven that levonorgestrel or progestin-based pills are effective no matter how many times you take it. UPA pills may get less effective with repeated use. But ECPs are not reliable as a birth control method, and the cost can really rack up. It’s still better to get long-term birth control like the implant, IUD, or birth control pills.
Where To Get The Morning After Pill In Australia
Good news! You can get progestin-only Plan B without a prescription all over Australia (UPA pills require a prescription). Simply check out your nearest pharmacy, Target, or Priceline, and you can get the morning after pill over the counter. Depending on where you go, the pills can cost about $AUD 15 to $AUD 45 a pop. You may also be able to get it for free at family planning clinics across the country.
The more options sexually-active women have for birth control and ECP, the more control they have over their bodies, and the more empowered they are to make decisions for themselves. Just remember to invest in more reliable birth control options and save Plan B for emergencies.
If you are experiencing a personal crisis and need to talk to someone, you can reach out to Lifeline Australia at 13 11 14. If you have been sexually abused or assaulted, you can also call 1800 RESPECT for support and guidance.