What Happens When You Take Plan B?

Hi Heather,

I hooked up with a guy last night and we ended up having unprotected sex. I feel so stupid about it. He pulled out but I’m still really nervous, mostly because I don’t really know this guy and it was more of a one-night stand type of thing. I want to take Plan B just in case, but I’m nervous. I’ve heard of girls getting really sick from it. Will I have to miss work? What happens when you take Plan B? Is it like taking the abortion pill? Please help!


It’s normal to feel nervous about taking Plan B – any pill you’ve never taken before should be approached with a healthy amount of caution. And, like any other type of pill, Plan B can have some annoying side effects. Or, it can do… absolutely nothing. It’s kind of a different experience for everyone, but there are definitely some things you can expect or at least prepare for.

First things first: Plan B is not an abortion pill. Here’s how it works: since it can take five to seven days after sex for the sperm and the egg to meet, Plan B basically acts as a blocker so that they can’t get together. The Plan B pill keeps your ovary from releasing an egg for longer than usual, which prevents the sperm from getting to it. The only people who consider Plan B to be like an abortion pill are ignorant people who don’t have their facts straight – every major medical institution considers it to be a form of emergency contraception, not an abortion. It’s not aborting anything. It’s simply preventing the pregnancy before it can even begin.

On to side effects,  because Plan B can come with some pretty annoying ones. These can include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, headache, dizziness, breast tenderness, and diarrhea. All of these are possible, but according to the official Plan B site, they generally happen to only about 15 to 23 percent of people. Although users have to be warned about these, they’re far less common than you would think. And, like I already mentioned, everyone reacts in different ways. Example! One of my friends took Plan B in college and ended up feeling exhausted and nauseous for most of the day – she slept it off and was fine the next day. Another friend took it and felt almost nothing. Her only note was that it kind of felt like she was PMSing a little, but it was no big deal.

Plan B can also affect your menstrual cycle. It might make your period come a few days early or late – or it might do nothing at all. So, keep that in mind in case your period is late.

All in all, Plan B is not as big of a deal as some people make it seem. It’s not an abortion, it’s not going to make you feel completely awful (it shouldn’t – if it does, you might want to call a doctor), and it’s not going to ruin your whole week. And even if you do feel kind of crappy for a few hours, wouldn’t you rather experience that than nine months of feeling crappy while a real life baby grows inside of you? Bet I just convinced you to take it. In all seriousness, though, you’re better off taking the pill to be safe.

Good luck!

What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at heather@gurl.com 


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