Troubled times
February 21, 2012 11:39 AM   Subscribe

Birth control/emergency contraceptive question. To panic or not?

Deep breath. Here goes.

I am not sure if I should take Plan B or not. Here is the situation. I finished my period this past Thursday. My boyfriend and I had sex (without a condom) on Friday night but he did not come inside me. We had sex again (without a condom) on Saturday and he did not come inside me.

Last night we had sex without a condom and we are both about 90% sure he pulled out before coming. I understand the potential dangers of precum. I know we should have been using a condom. I have an appointment to see a doctor regarding birth control tonight which I booked 2 weeks ago because I know that relying on pulling out is not the best plan.

My question is whether or not I should bother to take Plan B. I have taken it once in the past (in that situation the condom broke). I am not overly worried that I am pregnant but my stomach has been flip-flopping all day probably due to overthinking things and nerves. We had sex 12 hours ago so I know it is most effective if I were to take it within the next 12 hours.

Keeping in mind I will start taking the pill tonight, should I take Plan B? I would rather make the call now before I go to the doctor because taking Plan B now would be more effective.
posted by Small Pockets to Health & Fitness (20 answers total)
Don't panic! It'll be okay.

Unless you have some serious reason not to, I would take it as a just-in-case. Especially if being pregnant or getting an abortion is out of the question.

(sorry, I'm unaware of the side effects of taking morning after pills. If it's going to harm your health by taking it, then I suggest calling up your doctor and asking their opinion.)
posted by royalsong at 11:44 AM on February 21, 2012

Honestly if you're worried (and it sounds like you have some reason to be) just take it. You're buying yourself some peace of mind between now and your next period. Also, if you had sex without a condom on Friday, your window for that incident has already closed.

also omg use a condom or go on the pill, ideally both, yikes
posted by MadamM at 11:45 AM on February 21, 2012 [8 favorites]

I wouldn't panic, but I would take the Plan B. It's about $50, and definitely worth it for your peace of mind. It's unlikely that you're pregnant, but why risk it?

In the future, please do use condoms if you're not on hormonal birth control, and ask your boyfriend to also shoulder part of the responsibility for contraception.
posted by peacheater at 11:46 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just take it.
posted by k8t at 11:46 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Getting an abortion is definitely an option. When I took Plan B before, it did not have any bad side effects for me so I am not worried about taking it. I am just not sure if it is necessary or recommended.

MadamM I will for sure. I know that we have been irresponsible.
posted by Small Pockets at 11:47 AM on February 21, 2012

Also, if you had sex without a condom on Friday, your window for that incident has already closed

Actually, Plan B's been shown to be pretty effective for up to 5 days. It's MORE effective the earlier you take it, but late is better than not at all. (I'm too lazy to look it up but I think it's still in the 60% range if you take it by 5 days.)
posted by GastrocNemesis at 11:48 AM on February 21, 2012

There's no particular side effect to Plan B besides the immediate nausea (and whatever side effects are associated with hormonal birth control in general) so please do take it.
posted by peacheater at 11:49 AM on February 21, 2012

If only for the peace of mind, I'd take it.

And nthing the "use condoms already" advice. I mean, good on you for seeing a doctor about another birth control method coming up, but use condoms in the meantime (hell, they're cheap, and they also prevent against STDs).
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:49 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yes, do go ahead and take the Plan B. It's totally worth it for the peace of mind. Dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, even if it is a remote possibility, is so much more difficult. Side effects are generally minimal (do talk to a doctor or pharmacist if you have concerns).

Do be safe and do ask your boyfriend to share in the responsibility here. Wearing a condom is really your best bet for the short term.
posted by goggie at 11:50 AM on February 21, 2012

So, here are the 4 outcomes to your situation:

1) Not pregnant, don't take Plan B: nothing happens
2) Pregnant, don't take Plan B: Have to get abortion/deal with being pregnant.
3) Not pregnant, take Plan B: Possibly feel like crap.
4) Pregnant, take Plan B: Possibly feel like crap, don't have to get abortion/deal with being pregnant.

So by taking Plan B you're flipping a coin between options 3 and 4, neither of which have an outcome as bad as option 2, which you're at risk for if you don't take Plan B.

So unless you have a medical reason not to (check with your doctor) take Plan B.
posted by griphus at 11:50 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

So you know I'm not full of shit, Planned Parenthood describes how emergency contraception is effective up to 5 days (but more effective the earlier you take it, of course.)
posted by GastrocNemesis at 11:53 AM on February 21, 2012

And as for "side effects" -- yeah, you could feel queasy after you take it. I also once had plan B make my subsequent period a few days late (which is a bit of a mindfuck), but that was it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 11:54 AM on February 21, 2012

Go for plan-B. Actually, get the generic. Just as effective, not paying for marketing!
posted by mercredi at 11:56 AM on February 21, 2012

It doesn't matter when you finished your period. What matter is, what day did you start it? Always count from the first day of your period. If you started it a week earlier, on the 17th, then last night would have been day 11 of your cycle. Sperm can easily live for more than three days inside you, and the very most common day for ovulation is day fourteen after the start of your period. You could easily ovulate a couple of days earlier or later. Last night is not unlikely to result in pregnancy. This is exactly when you need Plan B.
posted by artistic verisimilitude at 11:58 AM on February 21, 2012

Might as well take the Plan B asap, right? Let your doctor know you've taken it, just in case it affects when you can start your regular birth control. I doubt it should, but IANAD.

Depending on what you and your doctor agree on for birth control and whether you can pick up your prescription before the pharmacy closes, you might not be starting hormonal birth control immediately anyway. Don't base your Plan B decision on the assumption that you will be taking the pill in the next 24 hours.
posted by Metroid Baby at 12:04 PM on February 21, 2012

I would get Plan B if I were you. If nothing else it'll calm your nerves.

If you do (or even if you're undecided) you might want to ask the pharmacist about possible interaction with your pills, or similar medical questions you might have. That's what they're there for.
posted by randomnity at 12:06 PM on February 21, 2012

if i were "90% sure" that someone didn't ejaculate inside of me, i'd take plan b, and i'm a pull out/no condom sort of girl.

for what it's worth - the science isn't actually agreed that precum can get you pregnant. i understand "better safe than sorry" since prevailing wisdom is that it can, but i've decided that for myself in my marriage that the risks of it are low enough that i feel safe rolling those dice.
posted by nadawi at 12:06 PM on February 21, 2012

Thanks for the advice everybody. My boyfriend stopped on his way over to get Plan B and I just took it.

I really appreciate the advice. I know that using the withdrawal method is not the best idea and I know we should have used condoms. Even though I am not severely freaked out consider this a good lesson learned. We won't be so careless from now on.
posted by Small Pockets at 12:43 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

Oh and in case anyone is worried aout the pharmacist dispensing the drug to my boyfriend...... I was on the phone with my boyfriend and the pharmacist did ask if I had any questions or anything. I feel confident in having taken it.
posted by Small Pockets at 12:44 PM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

[Folks, this thread can't turn into a side debate about how EC works, please stick to answering the question, thank you.]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 1:24 PM on February 21, 2012

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