Is Plan B a safe alternative to other birth control methods?

Patricia Geraghty, NP
Women's Health
There are really two questions here. Is Plan B safe? The answer is yes. Plan B is a single tablet containing a protestin called levonorgestrel. It is used to prevent a pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. There is some uncertainty to the actual way Plan B works. It seems to delay ovulation. It may also thicken cervical mucus to trap sperm, slow the transit of sperm into the fallopian tube, and interfer with the hormone producing cells in the ovary after ovulation. Plan B is safe for all women who are not already pregnant. There are no medical conditions that prevent the use of Plan B. If a woman is already pregnant, Plan B will not harm her or the pregnancy.
The second question regards the use of Plan B as an alternative birth control. Plan B is one method of the few methods available that are called emergency contraception. They are designed to be used when the primary method of birth control has failed. This could be a condom that fell off, broke, or never got used at all. It could be missing two or more birth control pills. Plan B used as soon as possible after the birth control failure reduces the risk of unintended pregnancy by 89%. At the same time, Plan B used repeatedly during a cycle, while not harmful, will result in menstrual cycle disturbances and is a less effective method than a properly used primary method.
If you need Plan B, by all means be sure to use it as soon as possible and feel confident in its safety. At the same time, explore why your primary method failed you and consider any changes to your primary method that might make it more effective for you in the future.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.