You might be glad that there’s a backup plan like Plan B when things don’t go as planned. But you might also be asking yourself if using Plan B can make you infertile later on.
Knowing when to use options for having babies is crucial. But it’s just as important to understand how these options work and when they won’t work.
In this article, we’ll explain how Plan B works and what it means for your chances of having babies in the future.
Does Plan B cause infertility?
Plan B is like a quick fix you can use when regular birth control doesn’t work or when you’ve had unprotected sex. You might wonder if these emergency contraceptive pills cause infertility later on. But don’t worry, it won’t. It also doesn’t have any long-term side effects, so there’s nothing to be afraid of.
It’s designed to work fast and only for a little while, not as your regular way to prevent pregnancy. When you use it the right way, it helps you avoid getting pregnant after unprotected sex, and it won’t mess with your ability to have babies in the future.
How Plan B works
Here’s how Plan B works for you: it steps in to pause or temporarily stop your body’s egg-release process to prevent fertilization.
Normally, your body releases eggs through hormone signals. Plan B has a big dose of levonorgestrel, which is in some regular birth control pills. When you take Plan B within 72 hours of having sex, this big hormone dose helps delay or halt the egg release from your ovary, keeping it from meeting any sperm.
Plus, Plan B does something else – it changes the lining of your uterus, making it tough for a fertilized egg to stick and grow into a pregnancy.
Good news: Plan B won’t mess with your baby-making abilities later on. It clears out of your system in a few days and doesn’t affect your future chances of having kids.
Other myths about emergency contraception
Although there’s no long-term side effects in infertility for using Plan B, it can be tricky to tell what’s true and what’s not about emergency contraception. You might have heard some stories that aren’t quite right. Let’s take a look at some of these myths and set the record straight.
There’s only one form of EC
When you hear about emergency contraception, you probably think of the morning-after pill. But did you know there’s not just one kind of pill for emergency contraception? There’s also another way that doesn’t involve swallowing a pill.
There are two main types of morning-after pills. One is called Plan B One-Step and its similar versions, and they come as a single pill with 1.5 milligrams of something called levonorgestrel, which is a type of hormone called progesterone. Most people who need emergency contraception use this method, according to experts. The other kind of pill is a 30-milligram pill with a name called ulipristal acetate (ella). Both of these emergency contraceptive pills lower the chances of getting pregnant by either preventing or delaying the release of an egg.
There’s actually another way to do emergency contraception that’s not a pill. It’s called Paragard, and it’s a special device that goes inside your uterus. This device has copper on it, and that copper messes up the sperm so they can’t work properly to fertilize an egg. Besides being an emergency option, you can use this copper IUD for regular birth control for up to 10 years.
ECPs causes abortion
After you have sex, sperm can stick around in your fallopian tubes for several days, hoping to meet an egg. If an egg doesn’t show up, eventually, the sperm gives up. That’s why emergency contraception pills (ECPs) only work if you take them within 5 days of having sex. So, the sooner you take them, the better.
Now, some folks mix up ECPs with medication abortion pills, but they’re totally different. Levonorgestrel, which is the hormone in most ECPs, doesn’t do anything if you’re already pregnant. ECPs work by delaying when your body releases an egg, so the egg and sperm don’t get a chance to meet. But if you’ve already released an egg, these pills won’t work.
Only Take ECs the morning after sex
To boost your chances of preventing pregnancy, it’s best to use emergency contraception right away, even though there are different recommended time limits.
Now, let’s talk about the emergency pills you swallow. Levonorgestrel is suggested within 72 hours after sex, and ulipristal acetate can be used up to 120 hours (that’s five days) after. However, the sooner you take either one, the better.
The quicker you take an emergency pill, the faster it can start working to stop your body from releasing hormones that make you ovulate. Levonorgestrel becomes less effective as time passes, especially after your body gets a signal to release an egg, which usually happens around day 14 in a 28-day menstrual cycle. Ulipristal acetate stays effective for those five days after taking it, and it’s even better than levonorgestrel after that signal, but it still works best when you take it as soon as possible.
Avoid using ECs after drinking and smoking
You might wonder if things like alcohol, smoking, or drugs mess up how well emergency contraception works. Well, having a wild night out might influence whether you end up in a situation where you need it, but it shouldn’t affect your choice to take it the next day.
In most cases, the good stuff about emergency contraception is much more important than any bad stuff, especially because not taking it could mean dealing with the challenges that come with being pregnant. Here’s a simple way to think about it:
You need a prescription to get all forms of EC
You can actually get levonorgestrel without needing a prescription, but if you want ulipristal acetate or a copper IUD, you will need one.
Levonorgestrel was originally prescription-only when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it for emergency contraception back in 1999. Fortunately, that changed in 2013, and now you can get it without a prescription. However, ulipristal acetate is relatively newer; the FDA gave it the green light in 2010, so you still need a prescription for it. You can get this prescription no matter how old you are, as long as you can find a healthcare provider who will give it to you. But be aware that not all pharmacists and doctors are as familiar with this newer option, so you might need to ask for it specifically if you want it.
You can take unprotected sex after taking EC
Emergency contraception pills (ECPs) are like a one-time shield against pregnancy for unprotected sex. They stop your body from releasing an egg, but only for a short while. So, if you take them and then have unprotected sex again soon after, your chances of getting pregnant go up. That’s because more sperm might be hanging around in your fallopian tubes when the egg finally shows up.
Busting Myths About Plan Bs
Don’t let misconceptions or hesitation hold you back from using emergency contraception when you need it. Remember, it’s a safe and effective way to prevent an unplanned pregnancy. Whether it’s the morning-after pill, ulipristal acetate, or the copper IUD, these options are readily available, and the sooner you act, the better they work. Don’t be afraid to seek help from healthcare providers or pharmacists if you have questions or need a prescription. Take control of your reproductive health, stay informed, and make responsible choices when it comes to contraception, ensuring a brighter, more planned future.