Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up

Birth Control Health Center

Font Size

Doctors Not Telling Women About Plan B

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

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

"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.

Plan B isn't the only form of emergency contraception. Women may also opt for the Copper T IUD, an intrauterine device that can prevent pregnancy even when implanted five days after intercourse.

Kavanaugh and Bimla Schwarz report their findings in the June issue of Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health.

1|2

Today on WebMD

Birth Control Options
Slideshow
mother and daughter talking
Evaluator
 
Period Questions
Slideshow
Condom Quiz
Quiz
 
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