- You should only take Plan B if you have had sex and have missed more than three birth control pills.
- You can resume birth control the same day you take plan B.
- But if you take ella, you must stop your birth control for five days after taking it.
Although birth control is very effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies, small mistakes like not taking your pill at the same time each day can increase your risk. In this situation, you may need emergency contraception, such as Plan B.
You can safely take Plan B while taking birth control, says Dr. Nicole Mitchell, obstetrician-gynecologist at USC’s Keck Medicine. But there are careful steps you need to take to ensure you are fully protected against pregnancy.
When should I take Plan B if I am on birth control?
If you’ve taken your birth control as directed and haven’t missed any doses, there’s no need to take Plan B, says Dr. Sophia Yen, reproductive health expert and co-founder of women’s telehealth provider Pandia Health.
In these cases, birth control already protects you from pregnancy. Yen says taking plan B would simply give your body more hormones than it needs. This could trigger unpleasant side effects like nausea, pelvic pain or even vomiting in rarer cases.
However, if you’ve missed three or more days of birth control, you should use emergency contraception, Yen says.
Plan B is 95% effective in preventing pregnancy if taken within 24 hours of sperm entering the vagina. You can take it up to 72 hours after sex, but the effectiveness decreases every day.
Can I continue my birth control pack after taking Plan B?
If you are taking Plan B because you forgot a few doses of birth control and had unprotected sex, you can continue taking your pills immediately. Ideally, you should resume your pack the same day and avoid sex or use a backup birth control method like condoms for seven days, Mitchell says.
That’s because Plan B only protects you after an incident of unprotected sex, so you’ll want to cover up while your primary method of birth control kicks back in.
But there is no universal rule to follow. Ultimately, guidelines may vary depending on the specific brand of pill you’re taking, so you should research information based on the specific type of birth control, or better yet, contact your OB-GYN for guidance. help – especially if you’ve missed three or more pills.
Can I take ella on birth control?
Some people may opt for ella, which is a prescription-only form of emergency contraception that is even more effective than plan B, with only nine out of 1,000 people getting pregnant taking it within 24 hours.
Plus, ella is more effective than plan B if you weigh more than 155 pounds.
But if you opt for ella instead of Plan B, you must stop birth control for five days after taking it, Yen says. This is because ulipristal acetate, the active ingredient in ella, is an anti-progesterone.
If you mix this with your hormonal contraceptive (which contains synthetic progesterone), it defeats the purpose, making the emergency contraceptive less effective, Yen says.
Since you should not take ella and birth control at the same time, you should use backup birth control such as condoms if you are sexually active during this time.
After the five days are up, it’s best to start a new birth control pack after taking ella, Yen says.
What to expect after taking Plan B or ella while on birth control
If you’re taking birth control and Plan B, one of the most common things to expect is your period being out of cycle, as it can come earlier or later than expected, Yen says. This can be anywhere from a few days to a week before your expected period is due.
Mitchell says a few other potential side effects of Plan B are:
- breast tenderness
The side effects of ella are essentially the same. However, unlike plan B, ella can cause menstrual pain, but not breast tenderness.
If you miss several days of your hormonal birth control and want to avoid pregnancy after unprotected sex, emergency contraception is a good option.
You can safely take Plan B and its generic forms along with your birth control. However, if you are taking ella, you will need to stop birth control for at least five days afterwards.
If you’re not sure what the best course of action is for you, don’t hesitate to call your OB-GYN for advice.