By Patti Gislason
If you choose to have sex, you are accepting a number of risks and responsibilities, the main risks being contracting sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy. There are ways that you can reduce those risks – birth control and safer sex methods. With the introduction of Plan B, there is now a way to eliminate the risk of unplanned pregnancy. Although Plan B can reduce the risk of unplanned pregnancy, it cannot reduce the spread of sexually transmitted infections. There is a lot of controversy surrounding Plan B and since I considered taking it, I thought I would share some of the research I found.
Plan B is an emergency contraceptive that has the power to prevent pregnancy. It is not an abortion pill. That means Plan B does not terminate a pregnancy. Plan B does one of three things: it stops the egg from being released, therefore it cannot be fertilized, it stops the egg from being fertilized or it will stop the already fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. If you are already pregnant when you take Plan B, then you will remain pregnant, as Plan B does not terminate a pregnancy.
Plan B is emergency contraception and it will only work for 72 hours after you have unprotected sex. The effectiveness of the pill is greatly influenced by when you take it. If you take Plan B immediately after unprotected sex it is more likely to prevent unwanted pregnancy than if you wait 71 hours. The most important thing to remember is that if you have had unprotected sex and are worried about unwanted pregnancy, the sooner you take Plan B, the better.
In Canada, Plan B has recently become available for purchase from a pharmacist without a prescription. To get the pills, you must go to a pharmacy and have a brief and private conversation with the pharmacist. It is important to discuss Plan B with your pharmacist before you take the pills to ensure it is most effective and that you are aware of any possible side effects.
Most women experience little or no side effects from Plan B, however, like most medications, there are risks. Some of the possible side effects for Plan B include: nausea (if you vomit 1 hour after taking Plan B, you may need to take it again, call your pharmacist), headaches, abdominal pain, fatigue and your period might come earlier or later than usual. If you have any health conditions or if you think you are already pregnant, then you must talk to a doctor and pharmacist before taking Plan B.
Plan B is a very reliable and accessible form of emergency contraception. Plan B has received a lot of controversy because it is often thought of as a pill that performs an abortion. This is not true. Many studies have been done and Plan B is a way to prevent pregnancy, not to stop it. It’s the type of birth control that is available if your regular form of contraception fails or if you find yourself in a situation like I did, where you were not planning on having sex, it just happened. Plan B is not intended to be a regular form of birth control, it is only intended for emergencies and it should not be used on a regular basis.
It’s also really important to remember that Plan B does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or infections. If you are sexually active, your doctor should test you regularly for STI’s.