Ask a VWC Nurse: Answers to Your Commonly Asked Questions
Once a month, we feature answers to commonly asked questions that our Valley Women’s Clinic medical staff receives. Our nurses provide answers to these questions here on the blog.
Q. How Often Can I Take Plan B?
If you had unprotected sex or a contraceptive failure and you’re worried about a potential pregnancy, you may be considering Plan B, also known as the morning after pill.
A. Plan B is an emergency contraceptive. It contains a much higher dose of hormones than the normal contraceptive pill so you shouldn’t take it regularly.
Plan B is not as effective as regular contraception, so it shouldn’t be used routinely or as your main form of birth control. It’s safer to use birth control than to have unprotected sex and then take Plan B. Taking emergency contraceptives frequently can change your periods and cause irregularity in your menstrual cycle.
Long-term regular use of emergency contraception has not been studied to the extent that researchers are satisfied with. There could be untoward effects that MDs and researchers are not yet aware of.
Some Other Things to Consider About Emergency Contraception:
- Plan B’s most common side effects are nausea, abdominal pain, breast tenderness, fatigue, headache and vomiting.
- If you have unprotected sex after taking Plan B, it will not prevent you from getting pregnant.
- The morning after pill does not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted diseases.
- Research shows that Plan B starts to lose its effectiveness in women heavier than 165 pounds and is not recommended for anyone over this weight.
- If you experience severe lower abdominal pain after taking the morning after pill, seek immediate medical attention as you may have an ectopic pregnancy.
For more information about Plan B/the morning after pill, check out our blog post about how it works.
Valley Women’s Clinic does not provide or refer for emergency contraception, but our medical staff can provide you with accurate medical information about it so that you can make an informed decision.
Keep in mind that emergency contraception is not effective if you’re already pregnant. So before you decide about using some form of emergency contraception, you may need to determine whether or not you’re already pregnant. Request an appointment with us at our Blacksburg or Radford clinic for a free pregnancy test. We also offer free STI testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
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