Having covered Plan B side effects and Plan B costs, it’s now time to answer the question everyone wants answered – how effective is Plan B? Before we dive into all of that, I want to take a moment to offer a few simple reminders:
- Plan B is not a suitable substitute for regular forms of birth control.
- Plan B does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
- Plan B is not a long term birth control solution.
- Plan B is an emergency contraceptive. It should only be used in emergency situations.
It’s also important to point out that all figures I’m about to offer assume the treatment is used properly. It is absolutely vital that you use Plan B as directed if you want it to work the way you expect it to work. As with any other medication, directions are clear for a reason. In order for the medication to work, the directions must be followed. Before we talk about success rates, let’s take a moment to review what we know about using Plan B.
Taking Plan B Properly
Plan B is most effective when taken soon after unprotected sex has occurred. The longer you wait to take the pills, the less effective those pills will be. There is a 72 hour window of opportunity after unprotected sex has taken place in which Plan B will be effective. If you take the pills after that 72 hour window has closed, your chances of the treatment being successful are greatly diminished. I don’t want to be repetitive but this is so incredibly important. You must take Plan B as soon as possible if you want it to be effective. There is no room for argument here. The sooner you take it, the more effective it will be.
How Effective Is Plan B?
When taken properly, Plan B has an astoundingly high success rate with many studies showing it to be 89% effective. There is an 8% chance you could get pregnant after having unprotected sex even once. That risk drops to 1% after taking Plan B. To put in another way, if nine women use Plan B as a form of emergency birth control, eight of them will not get pregnant. It is not 100% of course, but no form of birth control is. While getting pregnant after taking Plan B isn’t impossible, it is very unlikely and that counts for a lot.
The above figures relate to taking Plan B within 72 hours of having unprotected sex but taking it sooner greatly boosts the success rate. As of right now, there has been no concrete information offered to support an increased success rate for women who take the pills within twelve hours, but if you take the pills within 24 hours of having unprotected sex, the success rate increases to an impressive 95%. It is hard to argue with a figure like that.
The point here should be fairly obvious. How effective is Plan B? When taken as soon as possible, Plan B is extremely effective at preventing unintended pregnancy. If you are able to take the pills within 24 hours of unprotected sex, it is extremely unlikely that you will get pregnant. If you are able to take the pills within 72 hours (or three days) of unprotected sex, it is still unlikely that you will get pregnant although the chances are slightly higher. Beyond that, the story is completely different. Take the treatment as soon as possible for the best results.