General Question

sliceswiththings's avatar

To Plan B or not to Plan B, that is the question.

Asked by sliceswiththings (11723points) December 5th, 2009

Sooo I am usually very responsible with using contraceptives, but there was an incident last night (we were just going to start without a condom, but he came really quickly).

I’m on the pill, but this was the end of my placebo week so I hadn’t taken the pill for six days.

I’m not worried, since I’ve done it without condoms during my placebo week without repercussions, but I want to know what you think.

I’d like to avoid using Plan B if possible because I’m in the the middle of final exams and the side effects would be quite detrimental.


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30 Answers

holden's avatar

Have you used Plan B before? I would use it just to bar all risks. It’s pretty pricey, though, and normally goes for between 40–50 dollars at most grocery store pharmacies. But you may be able to get it for a reduced price at your health center.

casheroo's avatar

How long have you been on the pill for?

I don’t know. The only time I ever got pregnant on the pill was when I messed with it (ugh, I didn’t think missing two days to make my period a certain day would result in pregnancy..quite naive. But, I was young!)
I personally think you’ll be okay if you’ve been consistently on the pill for at least two months, and never missed a day.
Taking Plan B sucks. (sounds like you’ve taken it before, and know the side effects). Just start your birth control pills now.

Facade's avatar

Better safe than sorry I say. Plan B has saved my ass more than once

sliceswiththings's avatar

@casheroo I’ve been on for about two years and haven’t missed a pill for a few months. I’ve never taken Plan B myself, but have heard testimonies from friends. I’m due to start a new pack tomorrow. Thanks for the GA!

casheroo's avatar

@sliceswiththings Oh, if you’ve been on it that long without any problems then I doubt you need plan B. I used the pill exclusively as birth control even on the placebo days. If you follow the instructions, it has a small chance of failure. You’ll most likely be fine. (I’m not saying you absolutely will because if you get pregnant, I will not be held at fault. lol)

sliceswiththings's avatar

@casheroo Haha I won’t hold you accountable:) That sounds good, no plan b it is!

rooeytoo's avatar

Lesson – never trust a man to get out on time. Actually I have come to the conclusion it is best to not ever trust anyone period!

oratio's avatar

@rooeytoo lol good advice

arpinum's avatar

Plan B is essentially a higher dose of birth control. If you want you can take a double dose of your birth control pills by takings two days worth.

But really, you should be fine. Birth control pills are designed to work even when you are taking the placebo. Good job on doubling up on contraceptives though.

MagsRags's avatar

You don’t need plan B – your birth control pills are effective through the 7 placebo days. If you were late starting your next pack, so had gone 8 days or more without active pills, then you would be at risk of break through ovulation.

cinddmel's avatar

I have to agree with @MagsRags , the pill is made to be effective thru till you begin your next pack – so there’s no need to use a backup during your placebo days. As long as you start your new pack when you are supposed to, you should be fine.
Also if you decide to use Plan B you may need to restart taking the pill like it was your first month on it – because you’ll be inducing a period “out of turn” according to your pill schedule, so you may need to use some kind of backup during the first few days you’re back on the pill (according to the directions on the pack – when starting some pills you may need backup in the first week or two).

wildflower's avatar

If you’re very worried about it and you definitely don’t want to risk pregnancy, is $50 and an out of cycle period too high a price? It wouldn’t be for me.
Also, why would using plan B be detrimental to your final exams? (I don’t quite understand that part)

MissAusten's avatar

Like others have said, if you haven’t missed any pills you should be fine. If you’re sure you didn’t skip any pills that cycle, didn’t take any of them a day or a half day late, and have been on the pill for a couple of years, then you don’t need Plan B.

If you really want to be sure, call the doctor who prescribed the pills or the pharmacist where you picked them up.

poofandmook's avatar

When we first met in person, there was one time I just flat out had unprotected sex and didn’t make my boyfriend pull out.. bought Plan B (the $50 was so worth that sex, I really have to be honest), and I had no side effects whatsoever. I wasn’t on any kind of birth control though.

Kayak8's avatar

Wow, I am just feeling another dose of gratitude for being a lesbian! LOL Never been on birth control in my life and had no idea what Plan B was til I read this question . . .

sliceswiththings's avatar

@wildflower The side effects are supposedly really bad, nausea, vomiting, spotting, and I need to have my full game on this entire week for exams.

@rooeytoo Haha, important lesson learned.

Thank you all for the GAs! Will start just my new pack pronto.

laureth's avatar

Starting without a condom can get you pregnant too. There’s a little sperm in the pre-cum liquid.

avvooooooo's avatar

Your protection from the pill should definitely cover you through the placebo week. That’s how it works. :)

Taking two pills at once for pregnancy prevention is not a good idea. It is not just like Plan B and since when does some random guy know anything at all about how to use female birth control? and will throw off your regular pack. The only time when you need to take two BC pills at one time, the only time when it has any effect, is when you miss one.

MagsRags's avatar

BTW, side effect problems are much milder with Plan B than with the older forms of “morning after” pills.

It used to be a high dose combination of estrogen and progesterone equivalent to taking 4–8 regular birth control pills in a day. Not surprisingly, women had lots of nausea and vomiting. When I prescribed it, I also had to prescribe anti-nausea meds so the woman could keep it down.

Plan B has only progesterone, a high dose, but most women tolerate it well. It’s also more effective than the old regimen.

nikipedia's avatar

@MagsRags: I thought they still prescribed a progestin+ estrogen pill? Our lab is working on a study looking at the effects of different emergency contraception pills on PTSD in rape victims and last I heard we were getting participants using both… have they stopped prescribing the combination pill?

casheroo's avatar

@MagsRags Do you know what Planned Parenthood usually prescribes, or does that vary? I had a terrible reaction to the “morning after pill” usually severe nausea..I don’t recall the last time I took it (I know it failed though) I wonder if it was the older version or newer. Hm.
@nikipedia What sort of effects? Physical? I took the morning after pill after I was raped. All I remember is feeling super sick but still traumatized from the rape but it was my idea to get the MAP ( I was only 14)

nikipedia's avatar

@casheroo: Nope, PTSD severity. There’s some evidence that PTSD severity is related to sex hormones, so giving someone a huge dose of estrogen/progesterone (morning after pill) after a traumatic experience (rape) runs the risk of making the PTSD even worse. I can send you the paper when it gets published but it probably won’t be for at least a year… these things move slowly.

casheroo's avatar

nikipedia Wow, that’s very fascinating. I’d definitely be interested. I suffered severe PTSD after my experience, and it took years of treatment to figure it all out. Now your study makes me really wonder..can’t wait to read about it when it’s completed.

sliceswiththings's avatar

@MagsRags Thanks, I really know nothing about the different morning after pills. Good to know for the next decision that the side effects are tolerable!

MagsRags's avatar

@casheroo our Planned Parenthood provides Plan B, which is progesterone only. A nice thing about PP is that they are usually early adopters of the newest expert recommendations, sometimes ahead of the private practice doctors in their communities.

The switchover from the combination estrogen and progesterone also called the Yuzpe regimen began about 10 years ago based on a WHO World Health Organization review that showed the progesterone only was not only more effective but with fewer side effects. Plan B was approved by the FDA in 1999 and at this point, is available without prescription to women 18 and older.

@nikipedia I don’t know any care providers who are still using combination OCPs as emergency contraception. Maybe if they haven’t kept up with continuing education. Or if cost is a major issue, using regular birth control pills might seem more cost effective but far from ideal.

sandcat's avatar

One thing I wanted to add is that Plan B can actually make the pill LESS effective for the next few weeks or month. If you take it, make sure to use condoms for the next month in addition to the pill.

However, as others have stated there’s no reason to take it since you should be protected by the pill even during the placebo pills.

casheroo's avatar

@sandcat I’ve never heard it had any effect on the regular pill…can you provide a link backing that up?

sandcat's avatar

@casheroo I remember my doctor telling me to use a back-up method after using Plan B, but I’m not seeing any info about it online. That was a few years ago so maybe doctors just weren’t sure at that point if it might interfere. Personally, I think I would just ask my doctor when getting the prescription to make sure.

MagsRags's avatar

@sandcat I am a women’s healthcare provider and I am not aware of any data showing decreased effectiveness for your regular method. Most women who use Plan B are not using a regular hormonal method, but if they took ECP because they messed up on their regular method, it makes sense to consider yourself less-than-protected for the next couple weeks until your regular hormone method has a chance to get stable again. In other words, the ECP is not the problem, the original error is the problem.

Blueskieyes89's avatar

One of my high school English teachers once said, “You know what they call people who just ‘pull out’? ...Parents!” (bu-dum-chh)

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