Before considering the Morning After Pill (known by the brand name Plan B), you have the right to know what it is, what it could mean to your health, and how it works.


What is it?

The Morning-After Pill also called “emergency contraception” is an oral hormonal birth control that is used after unprotected intercourse or suspected contraceptive failure. It’s often referred to by the brand name Plan B One-Step. It is not intended for routine use as a contraceptive.

Plan B One-Step is a single-dose tablet. There is also a two-dose generic form available.

The drug is intended to be taken as soon as possible within the first 72 hours after unprotected intercourse. One study conducted by the manufacturer of Plan B One-Step reported that 84% of expected pregnancies were prevented.


How does it work?

The pill could affect you in one of the following ways, depending on where you are in your cycle:

  • It may prevent ovulation: without an egg being released, conception cannot occur.
  • It may affect the lining of your fallopian tubes so the sperm cannot reach the egg, preventing conception.
  • It may irritate the lining of your uterus. If an egg has already been released and fertilized by the sperm, this irritation could make it harder for the embryo to implant in your uterus. If the embryo does not implant, an abortion will occur.
  • How do I know if an egg has already been released and fertilized? There’s no way to know.


What are the side effects?

  • Heavier menstrual bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Delayed and irregular menstrual period
  • Breast tenderness


If you become pregnant or have of lower abdominal pain after taking Plan B One-Step, you should be evaluated for ectopic pregnancy, which is a potentially life threatening condition.


Things to consider

The manufacturer warns that Plan B is not recommended for routine use as a contraceptive

  • Emergency contraception is not effective if a woman is already pregnant.
  • Plan B does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases

The Morning-After Pill does not protect you from STI’s or STD’s.