Can Plan B cause an abortion? | Waterleaf Women's Center | Aurora, IL

Can Plan B cause an abortion?

Can Plan B cause an abortion?

28 May 2024 | Abortion

Let’s face it, life happens. Sometimes, unplanned sex happens too. And when it does, understanding your options is crucial. One option you might hear about is “Plan B,” also known as the “morning-after pill.” Some women “are hesitant” to use Plan B if it can cause an abortion. How does Plan B work? And can it cause an abortion?

How Plan B works

The FDA’s profile of Plan B refers to three possible ways the drug could work:

  • Preventing ovulation: Plan B temporarily stalls the release of an egg from your ovary. The sperm have limited time to reach the egg, or they will lose their potency.

    However, delay of ovulation is not a guarantee when taking Plan B as an emergency contraception. One study showed it did not affect ovulation in up to 8 of 12 women but instead shortened the phase associated with implantation. It also depends on when Plan B is taken since you may have already ovulated.
    • Preventing fertilization: Plan B can make it harder for sperm to swim through your cervix and reach the egg.

      However, some scientific studies show that taking emergency contraception within 72 hours is “unlikely” to block sperm from moving to the fallopian tube. Because after intercourse, sperm can reach the fallopian tube in as soon as five minutes. Another study showed sperm remained 36-60 hours after sex even when emergency contraception was taken 12-36 hours after sex.
  • Preventing implantation: Plan B can alter the lining of the uterus, preventing a fertilized egg from implanting. According to the FDA’s drug label, Plan B may work after fertilization: “it may inhibit implantation (by altering the endometrium).”

    It takes about 6 days after fertilization for implantation to begin. Depending when you take Plan B, it could affect implantation after fertilization has occurred.

So, can Plan B cause an abortion?

Yes, it is possible. Science literature has long affirmed that pregnancy begins when the sperm fertilizes the egg. As the FDA states, one of the ways Plan B can work is by preventing implantation after fertilization. This means the pregnancy has begun, but Plan B prevents implantation in the uterus, resulting in termination of pregnancy.

Other Plan B Side Effects to Consider

In addition to knowing the potential effect Plan B may have on an already fertilized egg, there are other side effects to consider. These side effects include:

  • Heavier menstrual bleeding
  • Nausea
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Breast tenderness
  • Delay of period

Remember, everyone reacts differently. If you experience any concerning side effects, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Further help

Understanding how Plan B works and its potential side effects are key to making informed choices about your health. If you think you might be pregnant or have questions about your sexual health, our licensed medical professionals are available to you by appointment in-person or telehealth. Call or text Waterleaf confidentially at 630-360-2256.


Waterleaf Women’s Center Does Not Perform Nor Refer For Abortions, Nor Administers The Abortion Pill.

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