Unprotected sex can happen for many reasons. Sometimes condoms break, you’ve forgotten to take your birth control pills or you get swept away by the moment. For whatever reason you weren’t protected from pregnancy, you have a second chance!

Plan B is a safe and effective form of emergency contraception that prevents pregnancy before it begins. If you have had unprotected intercourse within the past 72 hours, you may be a Plan B candidate. Treatment should not be delayed!

Plan B’s exact mechanism of effectiveness is not known. Plan B may prevent pregnancy by temporarily stopping the release of an egg from a woman’s ovary, or it may prevent fertilization. It may also prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. The successfulness of Plan B declines as the interval between intercourse and the start of treatment increases.

Unlike older emergency contraceptive pills that contain both estrogen and progestin, Plan B (levonorgestrel) contains only progestin. As a result, Plan B causes fewer side effects, the most common being nausea.

One tablet of Plan B is taken immediately, and a second tablet is taken 12 hours later.

Plan B is safe for most women except for those with undiagnosed abnormal genital bleeding and in women who are allergic to any component of Plan B.

The cost for Plan B at University Health Services is $15. A pregnancy test is also required. Studies have shown that Plan B does not cause harm to a pregnancy. Women known to be pregnant should not, however, use it because it is ineffective.

About 58 percent of users will have their next menses on time, a few days early, or a few days late. This cycle may be lighter, heavier, longer or shorter than usual. You should contact a health care provider if you do not have a menstrual period within a month of taking Plan B.

Given Plan B’s potential to prevent unintended pregnancy and its lack of serious medical risks, it can be used as frequently as needed. However, Plan B is not recommended for routine use as a contraceptive among sexually active women.

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