The Doc Is In: Will Plan B Hurt Me Down The Road?
Got a health question? Don’t trust those “Doctors” at the University Health Center? Are you scared of Web M.D. because it always tells you you’re gonna die? Ask a real doctor, like our friend Dr. Lissa Rankin. She’s here every Thursday to answer whatever you throw at her – even the aftermath of HPV– so ask away. Leave your question in the comments or send it over to us. Don’t be shy; she’s waiting for ya!
Q: Will taking Plan B multiple times affect the ability to get pregnant later down the road? My boyfriend and I are talking about having a baby sometime in the future but I have taken Plan B more than once in the past… Have my chances of becoming pregnant been reduced?
A: Don’t worry, sweetie. You’ll be just fine. Thank God for Plan B. While multiple pregnancy terminations may have some fertility implications (mostly because of scar tissue on the cervix or in the uterus), Plan B does not abort a pregnancy in the same way something like mifepristone (RU-486) does.
Plan B consists simply of high doses of progesterone, a hormone your body naturally makes every time you ovulate. Progesterone floats around your body regularly, and when you get pregnant, progesterone levels go WAY up. So it’s not like you’re taking some chemotherapy drug that might hurt your system.
So how does Plan B work? It works primarily by interfering with the body’s release of an egg from the ovary (ovulation). It can also prevent Mr. Sperm from finding Ms. Egg (fertilization). In the rare instance that Mr. Sperm does find Ms. Egg, Plan B can prevent the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall (implantation). If the fertilized egg has already implanted in the uterus- resulting in a viable pregnancy- Plan B doesn’t work.
So take a deep breath. There’s no reason to believe you shouldn’t get pregnant. If you do have trouble conceiving, it’s likely unrelated to your midnight mistakes and morning after escapades.
Good luck baby-making!
- Dr. Lissa Rankin’s book, What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend, will be published by St. Martin’s Press in Fall 2010. She invites you to join her Pink online community (www.owningpink.com/forum) or read more of her writing at Owning Pink (www.owningpink.com).