Skip to content

Birth Control Health Center

Doctors Not Telling Women About Plan B

Emergency Contraception: If Women Don't Ask, Doctors Don't Tell
Font Size
A
A
A

Plan B 'Special' on Birth Control Menu continued...

On the menu of contraceptive options doctors offer to women, Plourd says Plan B is like an off-the-menu special.

"A woman has a menu of contraception options," Plourd says. "It is my job, as the 'waiter,' to help her understand what is on that menu -- and to tell her that emergency contraception is one of the best things we have, but it is not on the menu. It is my job not to tell her what to order, but to tell her about what we have to offer."

Plourd says he tells his patients about emergency contraception during their annual checkups. He wants all his sexually active patients who do not want to get pregnant to keep Plan B on hand, just in case.

"Emergency contraception is like a fire extinguisher. If your house catches fire, this is not the time to go out and buy one," he says. "And if you have a contraceptive failure or, God forbid, you are involved in a nonconsensual sexual act, there is Plan B."

Many women, Kavanaugh says, confuse Plan B with the abortion pill RU-486 (Mifeprex). Plan B does not cause abortions. When it does not work, a woman has a normal pregnancy. When it does work -- which, according to Plourd, is 75% of the time -- it either prevents sperm from fertilizing an egg or prevents the fertilized egg from implanting into the womb and becoming a fetus.

Although Plan B is a brand name, it really is plan B. It's less effective than other forms of contraception used before intercourse.

Plan B is more likely to work the sooner after intercourse it is taken. That's why Plourd wants every woman who isn't ready to be pregnant to have it on hand. Kavanaugh says this is particularly important for sexually active women under age 18.

"For those under 18 who still need a prescription, it is very much in their interest to get it in advance so they don't waste time going through the prescription process when they need emergency contraception," she says.

Today on WebMD

IUD
Here's what to expect.
man opening condom wrapper
Do you know the right way to use them?
 
birth control pills
Here's what to do next.
doctor and patient
His and her options.
 
Forgot To Take Your Birth Control Pills
Article
pelivic pain slideshow
Slideshow
 
Birth Control Pills Weight Gain
Article
Ortho Evra Birth Control Patch
Article
 
Comparing Birth Control Pill
Article
New Birth Control Pill
Video
 
HPV Vaccine Future
Article
Young couple holding hands
Quiz