What’s Your Plan B? Emergency Contraception and your options if you find yourself unintentionally … well, without contraception

I’ve spend a lot of  time talking about wanting to get pregnant, but there are plenty of us who don’t want to be. To say this sizable group is freaked out by the thought of unprotected sex is an understatement. ‘Plan A’ for them is contraception, contraception and a back up contraception drawer in the kitchen.

But …

We get lost in the moment (bad excuse)

The condom slips (you tried to tell him the extra large wasn’t exactly necessary)

Pills are forgotten (you really need to set a reminder)

Happily, there are a few things to stop that incident (accident?) from turning into a growing issue.

We call it emergency contraception – basically, medicine that is used as an emergency measure to prevent pregnancy.

If you see me in my office, we have a few options, including extreme amounts of birth control pills taken at the same time, other types of medications, or even putting in the copper IUD. And obviously sexually transmitted infection screening, if needed.

If you’re avoiding me: you still have options from the pharmacy.

There’s a pharmacist-dispensed medication (meaning you have to ask the pharmacist for it) called ‘Plan B’. You don’t need a prescription, and they can’t lecture you before they give it to you. Unfortunately if you are under 16 in California, you still need a prescription from your doctor to get it. And more unfortunate, not all pharmacies carry it. In Los Angeles, every pharmacy I’ve been to has it behind the counter in plan view.

Take the pill (there’s only 1) as soon as you can after unprotected intercourse. The earlier you take it, the better it works. The package says within 72 hours, but I would still urge you to take it even if it’s been longer than that. Up to 120 hours (5 days) may still have benefit.

THE PLAN B PILL DOES NOT CAUSE AN ABORTION. It’s different than the abortion pill.

I am so sick of non-medically trained, usually politically minded males, with alternative motives and agendas, who do not have the best interest of an individual woman in mind, telling everyone that Plan B causes an abortion. It doesn’t. A similar type of hormone is actually given to women trying to get pregnant through IVF.

It acts by stopping or postponing ovulation. It affects the fallopian tubes. It won’t kill sperm. If it doesn’t work, and you still get pregnant, no harm is done to the fetus.

The two complaints I’ve heard (and these have been shown in studies) are feeling nauseous and having irregular spotting. These go away.

So don’t freak out if your Plan A doesn’t work. Just make sure you execute your Plan B.

Otherwise, you may find your plan is made for you.