Is It Safe To Take Plan B While On Birth Control?

Although most people who use birth control know how it works, at least to a degree, the facts around how emergency contraception (Plan B) works, aren't as clear. And, as long as reproductive rights remain at the forefront of debates, myths and straight-up fallacies about Plan B will persist. So, let's confront the Plan B myths right now.

In 1998 and 1999, the Food and Drug Administration approved emergency contraception brands Preven and Plan B, respectively. Also known as the morning-after pill, emergency contraception is a backup method used to prevent pregnancy if unprotected sex was had or the birth control method that was being used failed. For example, if the condom broke or the Pill hadn't been taken regularly. Plan B, which contains levonorgestrel, can be obtained without a prescription at any pharmacy. Depending on where you are in your cycle, Plan B will either stop ovulation or prevent fertilization of an egg, thereby preventing conception (via Mayo Clinic).

Plan B is not, in any way, RU-486 (medical abortion or the Abortion Pill). If you're already pregnant, Plan B will not terminate a fetus. Plan B is not meant to be used regularly as a form of birth control — it is only to be used as emergency birth control. In fact, if you've taken Plan B and experienced the whole slew of side effects outlined by Healthline — vomiting, cramping, moodiness, dizziness, nausea, or breast tenderness — there's a very good chance you'll do what it takes so you don't have to rely on it again.

Can you take Plan B while on birth control?

Short answer: Yes. You absolutely can take the morning after pill if you're taking hormonal birth control.

"If you are taking your birth control pills regularly and correctly or are on an IUD, you normally do not require additional Plan B," founder and CEO of Walk In GYN Care Dr. Adeeti Gupta tells Elite Daily. "However, if you are concerned, then you can take Plan B."

According to the Plan B website, the medication doesn't "impact the effectiveness" of any type of birth control method you may be using, so there's no need to stop using it. Just continue to take your birth control as you would have, both before and after taking Plan B. In fact, it's paramount that you continue to take your birth control pill — even if the reason you needed Plan B was because you accidentally skipped a couple pills — in addition to and after taking Plan B. Plan A is your regular birth control; Plan B is emergency contraception. It doesn't act as a stand-in for hormonal birth control.

"What confuses [people] is they feel like Plan B truly is a substitute for the birth-control pill, and they'll stop taking their pill pack, which is not what we want them to do," board-certified OB-GYN and fertility physician Natalie Crawford, M.D., tells PopSugar.

Although Plan B may throw your hormones for a loop, perhaps, even leading to an early or abnormal period after taking it, it doesn't mean you should take your birth control any differently. Your body will get back on track.

Who can't take Plan B?

While you can safely take Plan B while on birth control, it doesn't mean that it's right for everyone.

People who are pregnant, are allergic to levonorgestrel, or think it's okay to use the medication as a regular birth control method shouldn't take Plan B. You also shouldn't take it if it's been more than five days since the unprotected sex was had (Plan B is most effective within the first three days, then effectiveness drops, per Planned Parenthood). Although Plan B won't affect or terminate a pregnancy if you take it before knowing you are pregnant, it's still not a good idea (via Planned Parenthood). Also, men shouldn't take it, as that will not affect whether or not a woman will get pregnant, according to Medical News Today

Like regular birth control and RU-486, Plan B gives people control over their body, allowing them to decide when, and whether or not, they're ready to get pregnant. All of these options are essential in giving people bodily autonomy and should only be used as directed. If you have any questions or are experiencing symptoms that are not listed on the websites, then contact your OB-GYN immediately. But, as long as you take everything as you should, your path to preventing pregnancy is very likely to be smooth sailing.