When you are facing an unexpected pregnancy, understanding your options can be confusing and overwhelming. What is Plan B? What about the abortion pill? Is there a difference? Look at these facts about both.
If you have heard commercials about the “morning-after pill”, they are talking about Plan B. According to research, Plan B uses the hormone levonorgestrel to change your cervix. This hormone makes it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.
For Plan B to work though, you need to take it after sex, but before conception. If fertilization has already happened and the egg has implanted before you take the pill, Plan B may not work. The key to this method is understanding your menstrual cycle and knowing when you ovulate.
Every woman’s cycle varies. Keeping track of your period start and stop dates, ovulation, and the chance of fertilization is possible. There are even several period-tracking apps you can download to help you. However, the apps are only as useful as the information you enter.
For Plan B to be effective, manufacturers suggest you take the pill no more than 72 hours after sex. Plan B is a 50 times dose of the progesterone-only oral birth control pill and is not designed for daily use. Thus, Emergency contraception should NOT be used as a routine birth control method.
The side effects of Plan B
As with any medicine you take, you should be aware of possible side effects. According to the Mayo Clinic, these are some of the most common side effects:
- Headache and possible dizziness
- Breast Tenderness
- Nausea & Vomiting
- A delay in your cycle and a change in your menstrual flow, usually heavier.
The abortion pill method is known as medication abortion. Generally, this type of abortion is performed before a woman’s 9th week of pregnancy. It is a two-step process that uses two different drugs. To qualify for the procedure, you must have an ultrasound first. The ultrasound tells you how far along you are and if your pregnancy is viable, which means a heartbeat is detected. If you are further than about ten weeks, you must have a surgical abortion instead.
After having an ultrasound, you will be given the first drug, mifepristone (Mifeprex®), at the abortion clinic. This drug blocks the hormone progesterone commonly referred to as the “pregnancy hormone.” Progesterone is necessary for the embryo to implant in the uterus. Mifepristone causes the lining of the uterus to thin and prevents the fetus from staying implanted.
The second drug, Misoprostol, is taken hours or even days after the first drug. Once taken, it causes the uterus to start contracting to expel the fetus. The second drug is generally taken at home.
The side effects of the Abortion Pill
Any abortion is a serious medical decision and should be discussed thoroughly with a healthcare physician. It often has lifelong emotional, psychological, and sometimes physical consequences. Here are the most common side effects of the abortion pill:
- Heavy bleeding and cramping as your uterus expels the fetus
- Nausea and vomiting
- The risk of an incomplete abortion requiring a surgical procedure
Comparing the Two
As you can see, Plan B and the abortion pill method are very different methods of action and risks. Before you choose either of these methods, you need more information about your pregnancy.
What You Should Do
For factual information visit Waterleaf Women’s Center. We are here to help you.
Get a free and confidential lab-quality pregnancy test at Waterleaf. If we confirm your pregnancy, we will also provide a free ultrasound to determine the viability of the pregnancy and gestational age.
We also recommend scheduling no-charge STD testing at our clinic. Afterward, you can meet with a member of our medical team for a confidential consultation.
Together, we will review all your test results and discuss your life situation and your options. You are not alone. We are here to help.