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  • Writer's pictureHer Health Women's Center

Is there a difference between Plan B and the abortion pill?

Updated: May 16, 2023

If you are considering taking Plan B or think you might be pregnant, it is important to know what Plan B is, what it all entails and what you need to do if you've missed your period.

WHAT IS PLAN B?

Plan B is..

-an emergency contraceptive

-also called "Morning After Pill"

-may prevent a pregnancy before it starts

-most effective in the first 3 days after sex

-might prevent a fertilized egg from implantation

-prevents or delays ovulations

Plan B is NOT..

-the abortion pill

-does not end a pregnancy that is already implanted in the uterus

-100% effectivve

-ella®, another emergency contraception which requires a prescription

-recommended for ongoing birth control


WHAT DOES PLAN B DO IN MY BODY?

Plan B morning-after pills are designed to prevent pregnancy before it occurs by delaying or inhibiting ovulation. It contains a high dose of levonorgestrel, a synthetic hormone that controls the release of an egg from the ovary or slows it long enough to prevent fertilization.


DO I NEED TO SEE MY DOCTOR?

It is not required to see your doctor before using Plan B. However, it is always a good idea to discuss questions or concerns about any medication with your provider. If you have taken Plan B and side effects do not go away or become severe, please see your doctor.


Side effects are usually mild, but can include nausea, headaches, dizziness, fatigue, low stomach pain, breast pain, late period and/or future period being heavier than usual.


IS PLAN B LEGAL IN EVERY STATE? WHAT ELSE DO I NEED TO KNOW?

Since 2013, there are no legal restrictions on Plan B. However, Plan B can be seen as controversial because of its ability to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus.


Until recently the product information stated it may work by preventing a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus. Some medical professionals believe that pregnancy begins at fertilization and others believe it begins at implantation. Not all medical professionals agree, but in December 2022, the FDA removed the former wording about implantation. Therefore, Plan B is labeled solely as a form of contraception.


WHAT IF MY PERIOD IS LATE?

If you have a missed or late period or have already had a positive home pregnancy test, it is too late to take an emergency contraceptive such as Plan B or ella®. The next step would be to confirm if your pregnancy is viable and rule out an ectopic pregnancy or a natural miscarriage. Abortion pills do not work if the pregnancy is located outside of the uterus.


Contact Her Health Women’s Center for no-cost testing and a complimentary ultrasound to find out how far along you are and the options available to you.


Please note that while Her Health Women’s Center provides information on emergency contraceptives and can answer many of your questions and concerns, we do not provide or refer for contraceptives or abortion services. We believe that women deserve to learn about their cycle, their options, and the resources available to them without cost or pressure involved.


Disclaimer: Any information in the article or the referenced links are for your information, but are not intended to replace medical care.

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