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You Asked It: Is Plan B Bad for Me?

Is it bad to take Plan B more than once? I’ve heard it might affect whether I can have babies.

Great question! There are a lot of myths out there about emergency contraception, so knowing what information to trust can be tough. But this one is just that—a myth. Emergency contraception will NOT affect your fertility (your ability to become pregnant) and is completely safe to take more than once.

For those who aren’t familiar, emergency contraception is a kind of birth control you take AFTER unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. The most common method is Plan B One Step (often just called Plan B), an over-the-counter pill which can help prevent pregnancy up to five days after unprotected sex. The sooner you use emergency contraception after sex, the better it works. Consider stocking up on a few pills so you have them on hand when you need them!

Plan B is a high dose of progestin, a hormone found in birth control pills. It works by disrupting fertilization (when a sperm meets an egg) and delaying ovulation (when an egg is released into the fallopian tube, where it could be fertilized by a sperm). It will NOT end a pregnancy after it has started. It is completely safe to take multiple times, though you may feel nauseous or moody because of the hormones. If you’re 10-22 years old in NYC, you can get it for free at the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center.

We talk more about how emergency contraception works, how to get it and types of emergency contraception besides Plan B here.

Using emergency contraception when you’ve forgotten your birth control or had a condom mishap is a healthy, responsible way to take control of your sexual health and your future.

However, it’s still not as effective as many other birth control methods. If you forget to use your birth control pretty frequently, it may be time to change methods. Chances are it’ll save you time, money and stress to have a more reliable birth control method!

Talk to your health care provider about what contraceptive might be best for you. You can also check out Bedsider for a super thorough explanation of all your birth control options and this blog post for 6 questions to help you choose a birth control method.

Keep in mind that emergency contraception doesn’t prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

That’s why we recommend using condoms in addition to another birth control method! Since it sounds like you’ve had sex without a condom (or a condom accident) once or twice, make sure you and your partner both get tested for STIs.

We know that talking about and using condoms can be tricky, especially when sex is new. Here’s some other advice you might find useful:

  • If talking about safer sex is hard for you (like it is for a lot of people!), you might find this advice
  • If your partner doesn’t like using condoms, check out this piece for advice on how to talk to them.
  • If the condom keeps slipping off, read this You Asked It for advice on how to keep it in place.
  • Interested in internal (sometimes called “female”) condoms? Read this.

10-22 years old near NYC? Stop by the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center for emergency contraception, birth control, STI testing and other non-judgmental, confidential health services!

ABOUT YOU ASKED IT

You’ve got questions.  We’ve got answers. At the Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center, we answer a lot of questions. Topics range from nutrition to pregnancy prevention, and everything in between. Now, we’re bringing these questions back to you with our weekly advice column, You Asked It. Got a question? Holler at us in the comments, send us a message on FacebookTwitter or Instagram, or email us at teenhealthcareorg@gmail.com.

This column is not intended to provide medical advice, professional diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services to you or to any other individual, only general information for education purposes only.

Missed a “You Asked It” post? Click on “You Asked it” under Topics.

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