ATLANTA — Right now in Georgia, it's legal to purchase an emergency contraceptive to protect against pregnancy. But, there's confusion over how useful medications such as "Plan B" are, as a result of a viral TikTok.
The video states "Plan B won't work or will be far less effective... you take it while currently ovulating or already ovulated."
Does Plan B work during ovulation?
Yes, it's true Plan B does not work during ovulation. It merely delays it.
What we found
To understand how emergency contraceptives work, 11Alive reached out to Dr. Anne Beesley.
She explained it has to do with a woman's cycle and a surge in a hormone called luteinizing, which signals to the body that it's time to release an egg to the fallopian tube. Emergency contraceptives work to stop that.
"Those actually are preventing or inhibiting that LH surge," Dr. Beesley said. "So Plan B is really only effective before the surge has occurred. And so if that's already happened, it's not going to be effective in that situation."
Plan B One Step's website says something similar, explaining that taking what's considered as a "morning-after pill" works to temporarily delay a woman's ovulation.
That means there can be no fertilization and thus, no pregnancy.
The company adds that you need to take the pill within 72 hours after unprotected sex and the sooner you take it, the better it will work.
"The best thing to do is going to be to take it as soon as you've had unprotected intercourse, that's going to increase the likelihood that hasn't occurred yet, if and really it's going to be effective," Dr. Beesley explained.
Other emergency options that can prevent pregnancy, according to Planned Parenthood include:
- A copper IUD - if placed within five days of unprotected sex - is the most effective. You can also leave the copper IUD inserted for up to 10 years for protection.
- A hormonal IUD - if used within five days - works the same as a copper IUD to create a toxic environment for sperm.
Both of those options require insertion by a doctor or nurse.
For other alternative contraceptives that could work to prevent a pregnancy, reach out to your healthcare provider.