Plan B, which is also known as the emergency contraceptive pill, is a type of birth control pill that is taken immediately after unprotected sex or after a contraceptive failure in order to prevent pregnancy.
It contains Levonorgestrel as its active ingredient. It also contains inactive ingredients called excipients in sufficient quantities.
While Plan B is an effective method of preventing unintended pregnancy, it is not 100% effective in doing so.
Its effectiveness reduces if it is not taken early enough after unprotected sex or after a contraceptive failure.
It is recommended to be taken as soon as possible, within 72 hours of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure. The chances that it will not work if taken after 72 hours is close to 100%.
In this article, we discussed signs that ones you begin to notice in your body, then it is likely that Plan B did not work as intended.
Before we proceed, it is important that you take note of this: “some of the signs that indicate that Plan B didn’t work also doubles as side effects of the same Plan B”.
But then, Plan B side effects do not last long before they wear off. So, a lingering sign which suggests that Plan B didn’t work and is still among its side effects could be a clear indication that it didn’t really work.
Let us repeat the last statement in a clearer way to remove any ambiguity that may arise from it.
If a particular sign, say spotting, which is one of the side effects of Plan B and also among the signs that suggests that Plan B didn’t work lingers, then it is a strong indication that Plan B probably didn’t work.
On a contrary, if the sign last for few days and stops, then it is likely a side effect to Plan B.
Note: the only way to be sure that Plan B didn’t work is by doing a pregnancy test and getting a positive result of pregnancy. Anything other than this is a speculation.
What can make Plan B to fail
The following are what can make Plan B to fail at preventing pregnancy in women who take them:
- Taking it after 72 hours of unprotected sex or contraceptive failure
- Being overweight: study shows that women who are overweight often have Plan B failing them
- Taking it together with drugs that reduces its effectiveness. Examples of such drugs include St. John’s Wort, and Barbiturates. Your pharmacist can give you more examples of drugs that can reduce the effectiveness of Plan B on request.
- You took an expired or fake one. Taking fake medicines is not uncommon in developing countries where regulators sleep on their duties.
- You vomitted within 2 hours of taking it and you didn’t take another one
- You were already ovulating before taking it. The effectiveness of Plan B at preventing pregnancy decreases drastically when one is already ovulating before taking it.
- You took it when conception and implantation had already taking place. This is similar to number one reason (taking it after 72 hours of unprotected sex).
Signs that Plan B didn’t work
The following are signs that Plan B didn’t work:
- Missing your period
- Having swollen and tender breasts
- Being nauseous few days or weeks of taking Plan B
- Frequent fatigue and sleepiness
- Urinating frequently
- Having unexplained moodiness
- Having a breakthrough bleeding or light spotting
- Food aversion
1. Missed period
Please note: Plan B can delay your period by up to a week.
A period is said to be missed if a week or more passes without the start of a expected menstrual cycle. You should note that Plan B has the tendency to change cycles. So, you may miss your period and still not be pregnant.
Whenever you miss your period, whether you used Plan B or not, endeavour to do a pregnacy test to rule out pregnancy.
2. Tender and swollen breasts
Physical changes in the breasts few weeks after taking Plan B is a sign that it possibly didn’t work.
These changes include the nipples becoming darker, while the breasts become swollen, tender, highly sensitive and sore.
Physical changes in breasts as mentioned above are usually as a result of hormonal changes, which occurs in pregnancy.
3. Being nauseous with or without vomiting
Having morning sickness is a classical sign that Plan B probably didn’t work. If you start becoming nauseous few days or weeks after taking Plan B, then assume that it didn’t work.
This assumption should be followed by a pregnancy test to enable you rule out pregnancy.
4. Frequent fatigue and sleepiness
If you start becoming fatigued and always sleepy few days or weeks after taking Plan B, then assume that it didn’t work.
Frequent fatigue and sleepiness is one of the signs that Plan B probably didn’t work.
Pregnancy hormone called progesterone is assumed to be responsible for making women to be fatigued and always sleepy in early pregnancy.
5. Increased urination
When you start urinating more frequently than you use to do and you didn’t increase your fluid intake nor on diuretic, then consider doing a pregnancy test to be sure that you are not pregnant.
This is because increased urination is a sign that Plan B probably didn’t work.
Here is why: in pregnancy, the amount of blood in your body increases. This increase in blood volume in pregnancy makes the kidneys to process extra fluid. Consequently, they produce more urine.
6. Unexplained moodiness
Being moody, which can present as being unusually emotional or weepy, can be as a result of pregnancy hormone which inundates the body in early pregnancy.
Therefore, when you experience unusual moodiness, or mood swings few days or weeks after taking Plan B, consider doing a pregnancy test as it probably didn’t work.
7. Seeing light spotting or breakthrough bleeding
After conception or fertilization of an ovum by a sperm cell, the fertilizer egg travels down to the womb where it attaches to the lining of the uterus.
This attachment of a fertilized egg to the lining of the uterus is medically called implantation.
In some women, this implantation is accompanied by a breakthrough bleeding or light spotting. This bleeding often occurs around the time you are to see your period.
So, when you see spots of blood instead of your normal period few days or weeks after taking Plan B, consider doing a pregnancy test to rule it out.
Note: some women experience spotting as one of the side effects of Plan B.
Conclusion: Signs that Plan B didn’t work
If you have taken Plan B and are experiencing any of these signs discussed above, then it is important that you do a pregnacy test to determine if you are pregnant or if there are other underlying causes for these symptoms.
To prevent you from being scared in the future if Plan B worked or not, it is important that you consider using a regular form of contraception.
Doing so will also prevent you from getting unintended pregnancies in the future.