The condom breaks. Your ovulation tracker was off. You didn’t realize you missed your pill two days in a row; it would be difficult to find a sexually active woman who hasn’t had one of these experiences. Realizing that your primary form of birth control might have failed you has always been a scary moment. It’s even more terrifying in a post-Roe v. Wade world where women are rapidly losing access to methods for addressing unplanned pregnancies. That’s why understanding how to use other backup methods, such as the Plan B pill – sometimes called the morning-after pill – is so important.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the use of the plan B pill has been on the rise over the last two decades, with more than one-third of sexually active women ages 15 to 34 reporting having taken it. The FDA reports that Plan B works by stopping the release of an egg from the ovary. It might also prevent sperm from joining an egg (aka fertilization). If fertilization takes place, Plan B can prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb. Plan B is 87 percent effective when taken correctly – and those final three words are crucial. Here are common mistakes women make with the Plan B pill.
Resuming Your Usual Pill (Sometimes)
If you already have pregnancy prevention on the brain, then resuming your usual hormonal birth control pill might seem like the natural thing to do. However, hormonal birth control can reduce the effectiveness of one brand of the morning-after pill called Ella. According to Planned Parenthood, Ella is the most effective form of the morning-after pill. However, starting or resuming any form of hormonal birth control within five days of taking Ella can reduce both the morning-after pill’s efficacy and your birth control’s efficacy.