When it comes to preventing pregnancy, there is no such thing as being too careful. Especially now after a Supreme Court verdict that overturned the constitutionally protected right to an abortion if you aren't planning to have a child, it's smarter (and safer) to take all the necessary steps to ensure youre protected. And it's rarer when you turn to emergency contraception like Plan B even if youre already on birth control.
When birth control pills, IUDs, implants, sponges, condoms, or any other form of birth control fail, Plan B One-Step, or the morning-after pill, is your backup. These medications, although effective when taken consistently, are not always a foolproof contraceptive strategy. You must take one every day at roughly the same time, administer your monthly doses, and monitor your bodys reaction to the medications. Sometimes you forget a pill, or three, or five.
Plan B is a medicine that is available over-the-counter at most drug stores and pharmacies in the United States, although some states may be permitted to refuse to provide contraceptive services for religious reasons. According to the Mayo Clinic, it is not affected by the Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson (at least for now), and it is not as harmful as birth control medications.
Because there's more than one strategy to protect yourself against an unwanted pregnancy, here's all you need to know about taking Plan B while on birth control.
Is It Possible to Take Plan B On Birth Control?
Dr. Adeeti Gupta, the founder and CEO of Walk In GYN Care, says it's perfectly fine to take Plan B while also using birth control medications or other forms of contraception. Normaly, if you're taking your birth control pills regularly and correctly or are on an IUD, you will not need additional Plan B, according to Elite Daily.
If you have reason to believe that you had unprotected pregnancy and that your usual birth control was interrupted or simply malfunctioned, Dr. Gupta advises you to take Plan B within 72 hours of the sexual encounter.
Dr. Jenna McCarthy, M.D., an advisor on the WINFertility Medical Board and a reproductive endocrinologist, explains that Plan B is not a replacement for regular contraception.
Yes, you may take Plan B even if you are taking a birth control medication, according to the author. Just make sure to keep taking your birth control even after taking Plan B, especially if you have missed one or more doses of your medication.
Plan B is used for a reason: It's for emergencies only, and it's not intended to be taken regularly. I encourage women to be more conscious about avoiding harm by following a reliable contraceptive method, according to Dr. Gupta.
Is There Any Benefits to Taking Plan B on Birth Control?
Progestin is a key ingredient in some oral contraceptive medications, but it is also used in different dosages than in Plan B, and sometimes it is combined with estrogen. If you have side effects from birth control, you may notice an increase after taking Plan B.
Plan B might affect your period for one or two cycles, but it should return in six weeks or so, according to Dr. McCarthy.
If your period is delayed or you have irregular cycles, please have a home pregnancy test done by Dr. Gupta to verify that you are not pregnant. If the periods are abnormal, please see your gyno for a blood test and ultrasound.
Nausea, abdominal discomfort, and acne flare-ups are other common side effects of Plan B.
Are There Health Concerns With Plan B, Especially When It Is On Birth Control?
Plan B, even when using other forms of birth control, has no documented health issues, according to Dr. Gupta. It's a one-time event, so there aren't any major health hazards, she says.
Despite the fact that there are a number of misconceptions about Plan B, it can lead to other difficulties or unwanted pregnancy, particularly when it comes to timing.
Many women believe that Plan B is 100% effective in preventing a pregnancy. It isn't, according to Dr. Gupta. If it's not taken in the appropriate time, or even if it is taken in the correct window, it may not work 100% [of the time]. Plan B was designed to be taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex, which is when it will be most effective at preventing pregnancy.
Emergency contraception is also known to have weight limitations, and is less effective for people over the weight limit (which is a lot of people), as an alternative to the pill. It is, nevertheless, an option.
Despite changing laws and political turmoil, there are still some safe, healthy options available like Plan B that can help you avoid pregnancy and continue to live your life as usual.
Jenna McCarthy, M.D., is an advisor on the WINFertility Medical Board and a reproductive endocrinologist.
Walk in GYN Care founder and CEO Dr. Adeeti Gupta
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