Emergency Contraception (EC), also known as the Morning-after pill, Plan B, or ella, is not believed to be effective once implantation into the lining of the uterus has taken place. EC should not be used to induce an abortion. Other abortion methods, such as the abortion pill, are used for implanted pregnancies.
How does emergency contraception work?
Emergency contraception hormonally alters the body in a variety of ways. EC works primarily by preventing ovulation or fertilization, thereby preventing pregnancy. The FDA drug facts say EC may also change the lining of the uterus to prevent the implantation of an already formed human zygote/embryo. Emergency contraception is intended to be taking immediately following unprotected intercourse. The manufacturers of the Plan B pill provide warnings and side effects to consider before taking the medication.
Things to know when taking emergency contraception.
If you vomit within two hours after taking the first morning-after pill, make sure to check with your health care provider before proceeding.
It is important to note that the morning-after pill doesn’t offer lasting protection from pregnancy. If you have unprotected sex in the days and weeks after taking the morning-after pill, you could still get pregnant.
Also, it is not uncommon for the morning-after pill to delay your period by up to one week. However, if your period doesn’t come within three to four weeks of taking the morning-after pill, it would be wise to take a pregnancy test.
If you experience bleeding or spotting that lasts longer than a week or develop severe lower abdominal pain three to five weeks after taking the morning-after pill, you should contact your health care provider. This may signify that a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy is taking place. Ectopic pregnancy is when the human embryo has implanted outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. This can be life-threatening if not treated early.
What are the side effects of Plan B?
In a study of emergency contraception, about 19% of women experienced headaches, and 12% experienced nausea. Other side effects may include:
- Lower abdominal pain
- Breast tenderness
- Increased menstrual flow or dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation).
Things to keep in mind when considering emergency contraception:
- Emergency Contraception is not effective if implantation has occurred.
- Emergency Contraception does not protect against HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases or infections.
- The most common side effects in Plan B clinical trials were nausea, abdominal pain, fatigue, headache, and menstrual changes.
- The manufacturers warn that emergency contraception is not meant for routine use as a contraceptive.
Alternatives Medical Clinic is here to help you by providing evidence-based medical care and education to help you decide how to proceed concerning your unique situation. We provide free and confidential services in a friendly, safe, and non-judgmental atmosphere. We do not prescribe or refer for emergency contraception.
If you have questions, or concerns about emergency contraceptives, why not contact us to schedule an appointment?
We look forward to serving you.
Morning-after pill/Plan B [Internet] Mayo Clinic [June 19th, 2020] Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/morning-after-pill/about/pac-20394730
[Internet] FDA Facts Available from: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/021998lbl.pdf
ella [Internet] FDA Facts Available from: https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/022474s000lbl.pdf
Emergency Contraceptives [Internet] American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologist [Reaffirmed May, 2019]
Available from: https://www.acog.org/clinical/clinical-guidance/practice-bulletin/articles/2015/09/emergency-contraception
Ectopic Pregnancy [Internet] Mayo Clinic [December 18th, 2020] Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/ectopic-pregnancy/symptoms-causes/syc-20372088