What Happens If You Take Plan B While Ovulating?

Plan B is an emergency contraceptive pill that is meant to be used when a traditional birth control option has failed during sex, like a broken condom, or you become worried about having unprotected sex, according to Planned Parenthood. It should be taken within three days after having unprotected sex, although the sooner the better. And, yes, it is still legal after the overturning of Roe v. Wade.

Plan B primarily works by preventing ovulation, the release of an egg from the ovary, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, despite ovulation itself only lasting between 12 and 24 hours, it's possible to get pregnant a couple of days before or after ovulation, as the sperm takes time to travel to meet the egg, according to Forbes Health

Because of this, it's recommended to find a birth control option that provides continuous birth control. However, if you have already ovulated and you need Plan B, you should know that not much is likely to happen.

Plan B is not effective during ovulation

Unfortunately, if you're looking to use Plan B during ovulation, you may be disappointed. Because Plan B is designed to delay and stop ovulation in the first place, the emergency contraceptive effectively becomes useless if taken when ovulation has already started, according to Healthline. However, that doesn't mean that you're out of options.

First, it's important to understand when you're ovulating. Generally, ovulation takes place 12 to 14 days before your next period is expected, though this can vary from person to person. You know your body better than anyone, but there are physical signs of being fertile, such as tender breasts, bloating, cramping, thin and clear cervical mucus, and a changing basal temperature (although you need a special thermometer to spot this one), explains WebMD

If you are ovulating, Plan B is not the best choice. Instead, ask your healthcare provider for an emergency copper IUD. Instead of preventing ovulation, the copper IUD makes it very difficult for the sperm to reach the egg, making it a better option, notes Healthline. However, it does need to be inserted within five days after unprotected sex or ovulation, so you'll need to speak with a doctor quickly.

Prevent pregnancy with traditional birth control options

While emergency contraceptives can be effective, it is best to have a permanent form of birth control if you're planning on having regular sex.

One of the most effective forms of birth control when having sex is an IUD which is placed in your uterus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, and only needs to be replaced every 3 to 10 years depending on the type, according to WebMD. IUDs are over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy so they are one of the best options for women who want birth control they can forget about, explains Planned Parenthood.

It should be mentioned that some people claim that Plan B is effective at stopping fertilization, similar to IUDs or birth control pills. However, researchers have mixed opinions at best, with one study from the journal Contraception showing that Plan B has essentially no effectiveness at preventing pregnancy after ovulation.