How Long Does Plan B Work?

Plan B One Step is an emergency contraceptive used to prevent pregnancy from occurring after an act of unprotected sexual intercourse. You can take Plan B if you had sex without using any protection at all, or if you did use protection but you think it may have failed – such as if a condom broke or slipped, or you think you may have skipped a dose of your regular daily oral contraceptive.

So, does taking Plan B mean that you’re “safe” for a while? How long does Plan B actually work?

Plan B is a Single Pill that “covers” a Single Sex Act

It is a misconception that you can consider yourself “covered” for a while after you take an emergency contraceptive like Plan B One Step. There is no medical evidence that indicates there is any lingering effectiveness from the “Morning-After Pill” that would continue to disrupt the follicular cycle for any future incidents of unprotected sex.

How Long Do the Preventative Effects of Plan B Last?

This is very shaky ground. Even when taken as directed, Plan B One Step and other emergency contraceptives like it are only 92% – 95% effective.

This means that there are no guarantees.

To be most effective, Plan B One Step should be administered as soon as possible after unprotected sex and no later than 72 hours afterward. This really doesn’t mean that you can have sex any time you want over the next 72 hours and expect it to keep fighting off sperm. Taken as directed, Plan B is most likely to prevent egg fertilization and implantation ONCE.

Planning to Have Sex Again? USE PROTECTION.

If you have used the Plan B emergency contraceptive pill because you have had unprotected sex, you can only expect this pill to stop a pregnancy from occurring from that one sex act. If you plan to have sex again and you don’t want to become pregnant, then prepare yourself with condoms, birth control pills, an IUD, an injected contraceptive, a diaphragm or an implanted contraceptive device like an IUD or Norplant.

Do NOT rely on the Plan B pill you took yesterday to keep on working tomorrow.

Various reports indicate that someone who took Plan B on Monday had unprotected sex again on Friday and did not get pregnant. However, other reports have shown that those who took Plan B got pregnant anyway, and it is unknown as to whether it was emergency contraceptive failure at the initial act or whether it worked to prevent the first batch of sperm from fertilizing but a few days later another batch of sperm completed their mission.

Better safe than sorry…

If you have unprotected sex again, you can take Plan B again.

It isn’t intended as regular birth control, nor is it intended to abort an existing pregnancy, but it is safe to take emergency contraception more than once during a menstrual cycle. If you don’t want to take chances, don’t count on a single dose of Plan B protecting you from pregnancy for repeated sex acts over any period of time.


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