Get to know your options: Plan B pill provides pregnancy prevention

“As a woman, do I need a prescription to get the morning-after pill? Do I have to be 18 years old? Does it work? What happens if I wait more than 24 hours; can I still take it, and will it be effective?”

To get emergency contraception, also known as the morning-after pill or Plan B, you do not need a prescription if you are at least 17. You will have to go to a pharmacy counter and ask for it but don’t worry, you’re not the only person who has done this.

You should call ahead to make sure that it is in stock.

Plan B is one brand of the morning-after pill. It requires you to only take one pill while others require two. You have up to 120 hours to take the pill but it is 89 percent effective if taken after 72 hours. After those first 72 hours, the effectiveness of the pill decreases. The sooner you take it, the better.

The second pill in brands that contain two pills is taken 12 hours after the initial pill.

The morning-after pill is not the abortion pill. It does not affect existing pregnancies in any way. Plan B and other brands are essentially a large dose of the same hormone found in birth control pills-levonorgestrel. This prevents ovulation and thickens the cervical mucus preventing the sperm from joining the egg.

This type of contraception should not be used regularly. It is hard on your body and may make you sick for a few days after it is taken. Symptoms could include nausea, abdominal pain, dizziness, breast tenderness and changes in your period.
Use a method of contraception or birth control that works for you, but if you have intercourse and that method fails (the condom breaks, you forget to take the pill for a day or two, etc.), then resort to the morning-after pill to prevent pregnancy.

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