Thinking you might be pregnant when you aren’t ready for a baby may have you considering Plan B, or the Morning After Pill, as an emergency contraceptive. If you’re wondering about the ethical complications of Plan B, or want to know more about how it works, you’ve come to the right place.
A study from Princeton University says this about emergency contraceptives, like Plan B:
To make an informed choice, women must know that [emergency contraceptives] … prevent pregnancy primarily by delaying or inhibiting ovulation and inhibiting fertilization, but it is not scientifically possible to definitively rule out that any of these methods, including breastfeeding, may inhibit implantation of a fertilized egg in the endometrium. At the same time, however, all women should be informed that the best available evidence is that the ability of levonorgestrel and ulipristal acetate ECPs to prevent pregnancy can be fully accounted for by mechanisms that do not involve interference with post-fertilization events.
If you’re unsure what that means, that’s okay! This article will break it down for you. We want to explain what Plan B is and how it works, so you can make an informed decision about your possible pregnancy. Let’s get started!
What is Plan B?
Plan B is one type of emergency contraceptive. Women typically use Plan B after unprotected sex or after the failed attempts of another birth control method: a condom breaks, a dosage of birth control gets missed, etc.
Plan B is available over-the-counter in most drugstores. A prescription is not required, and anyone of any age can buy it in-store or online. It typically costs $15 to $50, depending on the brand and where you buy it from.
How Does Plan B work?
How Plan B works is dependent on when a woman takes it. Therefore, before explaining how Plan B works, it’s important to understand a few key terms within a woman’s monthly cycle: ovulation, fertilization, and implantation.
- Ovulation occurs during the midpoint of a woman’s cycle when an egg gets released from her ovaries.
- Fertilization occurs after intercourse when a sperm enters a woman’s released egg. This is also called “conception.”
- Implantation occurs when a fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall.
Research suggests that Plan B primarily interferes with the ovulation stage of pregnancy. Plan B does this by containing a high dosage of levonorgestrel, a hormone that essentially mimics progesterone. Progesterone is naturally produced in a woman’s body and gets released after ovulation to thicken the wall of the uterine lining to prepare for a fertilized egg and also maintain a pregnancy. If there is no fertilized egg, progesterone levels drop and your period begins.
Progesterone is found in both Plan B and birth control pills. However, Plan B is less effective when used routinely, and it should not be relied upon as a primary form of birth control. Plan B also contains a high concentration of levonorgestrel, which can lead to negative or acute side effects.
What About Ella? Is It The Same as Plan B?
Not exactly. Ella is another brand of emergency contraception that contains ulipristal acetate. Ella is only available by prescription, and it is recommended to take only once during a menstrual cycle. There have not been adequate studies to know if ulipristal acetate is safe or effective to take several times during a cycle. Taking Ella alongside Plan B can cancel the effectiveness of both.
Research says that the primary function of Plan B (levonorgestrel) is to interfere with ovulation, which can prevent fertilization. If a woman has unprotected sex after ovulation and takes Plan B, studies show that taking Plan B doesn’t lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant.
Similarly, Ella (ulipristal acetate) interferes with ovulation, and studies have indicated that it can alter the endometrium, or the uterine lining. It’s inconclusive if this could prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. However, studies agree that neither emergency contraceptive will terminate an established, active pregnancy.
Here’s a quick comparison chart to show you the differences between Plan B and Ella.
|Plan B / Levonorgestrel||Ella / Ulipristal Acetate|
|Impairs Sperm Function||Possibly, at higher dosages||No|
|Compromises Uterine Lining||Possibly||Possibly|
|Interferes with Post-Fertilization||No||No|
|Terminates Active Pregnancy||No||No|
(Source: Study from Princeton University in 2019)
How Effective Is Plan B?
If taken within the recommended 72 hours (three days) of unprotected sex, Plan B has a 56% to 89% chance of preventing pregnancy. Again, this is dependent on when a woman takes the pill during her cycle, and at what point after unprotected sex she takes the pill. If she takes Plan B after ovulation or after the recommended time frame, she will likely experience a similar pregnancy rate than if she didn’t take emergency contraception in the first place. Some studies also indicate that Plan B may not work as effectively in women who are overweight.
Experts say that Plan B does not stop an active pregnancy, and the side effects it may have on an unborn baby are not well researched. For these reasons, a woman should not take Plan B if she suspects she is already pregnant.
What are Side Effects of Plan B / Levonorgestrel?
If a woman decides to take Plan B, here is a list of side effects she should be aware of. Common side effects of taking Plan B include:
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Abdominal Pain
- Breast Tenderness
- Cycle Changes (including heavy bleeding or timing irregularities)
These side effects usually last a few days. When it comes to cycle changes, her period may come sooner, later, last longer than expected, or she may bleed heavier than usual. If a woman’s period is a week or more late, she should take a pregnancy test.
Because the hormonal dosage in Plan B is much higher than what most women experience, some who have taken it experience severe side effects. Rare side effects can include:
- Vision changes
- Breast cancer
- Ectopic pregnancy
If a woman experiences severe effects from taking Plan B, she should seek professional medical assistance immediately.
Need Help Making the Right Decision?
If you would like support in making a decision about your unplanned pregnancy, we have friendly and trained staff who would love to speak with you about your options, judgement free. Feel free to call or text us at (612) 712-6113. You can also schedule a visit at one of our pregnancy centers in Minneapolis, Richfield, Rochester, or Saint Paul for a free consultation.
Like a non-judgemental friend, we are here for you! We will always have your best interest in mind as we help you sort through the pros and cons of your options. All our services are free and confidential for your benefit.Learn More
COVID-19 has brought many unknowns and uncertainties into the world, especially for those who are just discovering they are pregnant.
Under normal circumstances, it’s not uncommon for pregnant women to have lots of different emotions and questions about how pregnancy will change their life. During this time of COVID, these uncertainties and questions may be even more pronounced.
To help address these concerns, we asked our medical staff to answer your most common questions about COVID during pregnancy. The following information should not replace talking with your doctor about any concerns.
How does COVID-19 affect a pregnancy?
Research is still in process surrounding the effects COVID-19 could have on pregnancy. Pregnant women may be higher risk for negative effects from the virus, but research has shown pregnant women are not at increased risk of mortality (death).
How can I protect myself from COVID-19 if I’m pregnant?
You can protect yourself by washing your hands frequently, avoid touching your face, limiting direct contact with others outside of your household (especially those who are sick), and wearing a face covering. It’s also important to stay hydrated, eat balanced meals, keep your prenatal appointments, and get plenty of rest.
Can COVID affect the health of my baby after birth?
It isn’t yet known whether or not COVID impacts the health of infants after birth. In regards to breastfeeding, the limited research conducted shows no evidence of the virus being transmitted through breast milk.
What should I do if I’m undecided about my plan for pregnancy?
Once you have verified your pregnancy and confirmed how far along you are, take time to learn about all of your options. At First Care we provide free options counseling with Licensed Social Workers or Client Advocates who can answer your questions about each pregnancy option. Our professional staff will help you weigh the pros and cons of each decision and connect you with resources and referrals to support you.
All of our services are free and confidential. Call the location nearest you to schedule a lab-quality pregnancy test, limited ultrasound, or appointment to meet with a social worker to discuss your pregnancy options.
“There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one.” – Jill Churchill
Comparison Is The Thief of Joy
In this day of social media, comparing ourselves to others is hard to escape. This is especially true when it comes to the most important job of all- being a mom!
One pass through Facebook, Instagram or the local park will have you feeling like you could never measure up to all the other “perfect” moms out there. Whether you are pregnant or have four kiddos whirling around you, comparisons to others, added to our own unrealistic expectations, can make us feel less than adequate and can rob us of the joy in this important job of developing these tiny humans into fully functioning adults!
Here are a few things to remember as a parent:
- Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself and extend grace to yourself! Remind yourself of the end goal.
- One bad day (when you have lost it too many times to count) does not define you as a parent.
- Children are resilient especially when they know that you love them and want the best for them.
- “This too shall pass” are four little words that can get you through most stages or situations with your kids that are especially trying.
Focus on What you can Control
Here are a few suggestions of things you can do to become the best mother for your children:
- Don’t compare yourself to others. Care deeply about what is best for your kids not how others see you or think about you.
- Act and react with love and kindness on your child’s behalf, and when you blow it, be quick to ask for forgiveness. Kids will learn more from this than anything else you do!
- Ask for help, ask for wisdom, ask for prayer from others who have walked the road of motherhood! We are all in this together!
- Practice being grateful. Thankfulness for even the little things like fixing a snack, folding another load of laundry, or tucking a toddler in at the end of a long day can be a game changer when it comes to our attitudes and mental health.
Go Easy On Yourself
Being a mom is hard work, but trying to be a “perfect” mom is REALLY hard work! The love you have for your child will cover a multitude of the mistakes that you will surely make over the years while parenting. It is good to realize that children are not the only ones who are growing and developing!
As parents, we can also grow into people with more patience, grace, forgiveness, flexibility and love. The journey of parenting little ones can seem unending, but it will be over before you know it! Savor the great privilege! Remember, you are the perfect mother for your child!
Find Encouragement When You Need It
Could you benefit from encouragement, wisdom, and tools for your parenting journey? Check out the Every Family parenting program. During your time in the program, you’ll meet one-on-one with a parenting coach and dive in to relevant topics for your family.
In addition, after each session, you will earn points that can be used to shop in our clothing closet which is stocked with baby items including diapers, wipes, equipment items, clothing, and more! Contact the office closest to you for more information.
When I found out I was pregnant, I had just experienced a difficult break-up after a four year relationship and all I could think is this should not be happening. After I got over the shock, I decided right away abortion was not an option and I was going to place this child for adoption.
Although, it was never that simple; being pregnant was a difficult transition, I had to change my lifestyle and start the process of finding a family. It was a little overwhelming but at the same time I knew I could do this.
Choosing a Family
I decided to work with First Care and their adoption program, New Life Adoptions. They had families ready for me to look at and helped mediate our conversations, which was a really nice boundary. I really appreciated the fact that New Life Adoptions tried to get to know me and matched adoptive families to me based on my personality and adoption preferences.
As I looked through all of the waiting families, I came across a family that I knew right off the bat was the family I wanted to raise my child. I loved them. We talked for two hours and meeting them was not stressful or uncomfortable. I knew they were the ones and this was the family for my daughter.
Making an Open Adoption Plan
We were so comfortable with each other that we decided to move forward with an open adoption plan. It didn’t have to be constant communication, but I wanted to meet a few times a year. I just want my daughter to know I’m there. I don’t want her to grow up with unanswered questions; and I want her to know she can always call me and meet with me.
I wasn’t giving a baby to strangers. They became an extension of my family.
Seeing my daughter grow up with the family I selected has been amazing. She has a mom, a dad, and a brother, she plays sports, and has everything she needs. If I had decided to parent, she wouldn’t have that freedom to do what she would like to. She wouldn’t have parents who are together, and she would have to go back and forth between two families. This is where she belongs.Learn More
Although some of the COVID-19 restrictions are lifting, many of us are still staying home and spending a majority of time with our immediate family. We know that this season of mandated togetherness has brought on added responsibility for some parents as they stepped into the role of being their children’s in-person teachers. For other families, it has brought on an extra tension at home as they navigate sibling conflicts and stressed out kids.
Maybe for the first time, your family had to learn how to be together-all day, every day, sunrise to sunset. We get that it has been a challenge and will probably continue to be as we continue to move through this time of COVID. That being said, we would like to offer you some thoughtful encouragement as the time of distance learning turns to summer.
Reflect on the Past Few Months
- Look around you, at your home and family and give yourself a pat on the back. Even if it has been incredibly hard, your family has come a long way in being together! Sure, it probably hasn’t been perfect but that is okay! What is one way your family has grown together in the last few months that has surprised you?
- Even if it didn’t always seem like it, your kids did learn something during all this distance learning. They learned new tech skills, how to engage with classmates virtually and adjusted to the major change in their school life. Even if your kid didn’t master multiplication, he/she gained life skills during this time. In what ways did your child(ren) impress you with how they responded to virtual learning?
- Embrace this season of life for what it is! It is a messy, uncertain time for everyone. Do not fall into the trap of comparing yourself or your children with other families. Remember you are doing the best you can with what you have. What’s one way your family has gotten creative during this time (home-made masks, trying different foods, etc.)?
Prepare for the Summer Months
As you move in to the summertime, with the likelihood of summer activities being cancelled or limited, here are some ideas to embrace this summer together, in all its messiness and uncertainty:
- Create a nature journal to use on nature walks! Collect leaf print, tree names and bird and bug drawings.
- Think of a team name for your family.
- Build in snuggle time with your kids each day as you read aloud a book together.
- Start a dance challenge with your friends and family! The Marco Polo App is a free, fun way to connect with others.
- Start reading a book series together as a family.
- Make chalk art obstacle courses on your driveway or sidewalk.
- Build pillow and blanket forts in your living room on the rainy days.
And remember, the time your kids spend with you is priceless. These moments of togetherness, having you close, and learning from you are key to their development. There isn’t a curriculum to follow – just be present with your kids, and see what happens.Learn More
I told my mom about my pregnancy pretty abruptly. I had been living with my ex-boyfriend and things took a turn for the worse. I had distanced myself from my family, made some bad decisions, and ended up in a scary situation.
When I found out I was pregnant, I ended up reaching out to my mom about a day after. I asked her to pick me up and she did. I got in the car and said, “Mom, please don’t hate me. I’m pregnant.” And she just sat there with a blank look on her face for a minute before saying, “Okay, go grab your things. We’ll get you home. It’s going to be okay. I love you.” I went home that very day and cut off all contact with my ex.
My mom was definitely my number one support system the entire time I was pregnant. She dropped everything in her life to make sure that I had everything I needed—and that I felt supported and loved. I have put her through a lot, and she has never shown me anything but unconditional love throughout this whole journey.
Adoption was never something I thought I’d consider. I always thought if I ever got pregnant, I’d raise my child.
Throughout my decision-making process, First Care was such a valuable and truly loving, supportive environment. When I first arrived, I was very nervous, but they made me feel safe and heard. We worked through every possible scenario, and it made me feel much more confident in my decision. I was even able to talk to a birth mother who had been through a similar journey, and she gave me reassurance and hope for the future.
I came to the realization that adoption might be the best plan for my child, and that was the most important thing to me. I wanted to give her the best life possible.
Choosing a Family
When it came to choosing a family, it was a big task. It was tough narrowing it down from 13 to 1. I was so glad my mom was there to help me through it all. We prayed together a lot about the choice and it ended up being very clear.
When we met my daughter’s adoptive family for the first time, my mom and I both felt like it was obvious—that these two people were meant to be my daughter’s family.
God has been a huge part of this journey to motherhood from start to finish. I truly believe that He orchestrated this all and made everything work out exactly how He wanted it to.
The Extended Family of Adoption
The most emotional time of this journey was when my daughter was born. I had 48 hours with her until we had to go our separate ways. I could have stayed in the hospital holding her forever. It didn’t feel real, and absolutely crushed my heart having to drive home without her, leaving her with her family. It was so scary at first. I did know these were really good people and that I could trust them, but part of me was terrified that I was no longer in control and that I couldn’t keep her safe anymore.
Eventually, I realized that I did everything in my power to keep her safe. She’s so happy with her adoptive family and has a stable home with parents who were ready to raise a child. They are wonderful and love her so much.
I have also gained her adoptive family as a family of my own. We get together and do activities. We communicate a lot—I get lots and lots of pictures! Just being able to see her happy and safe makes me happy.
I’m so glad I was able to place her with such deserving parents. This is better than any possible scenario I could have imagined, and I am truly grateful for this journey to motherhood overall, the joys and the struggles.
Finding out you are pregnant may come as a surprise. This isn’t what you wanted, at least not now.
Maybe you’re thinking…
Learn From Others.
We understand. At First Care, we have met with thousands of women who have thought their dreams were shattered too. But, hold on. Take a breath. Pause. Give yourself time to process.
Find hope in their stories and know that on the other side of this, you will achieve and accomplish dreams, maybe even some new ones you don’t yet have!
You will meet with someone who has experience in finding resources to help you. We will talk with you about your dreams and how your decision for your pregnancy may impact those dreams.
Once you have a clear path forward, we can help connect you with the services or resources to make your unexpected pregnancy and future plans work!
See, you may think you’re dreams have been lost, but maybe they were never fully clear. The road is never as easy as it looks, but with First Care, we are there to walk alongside you, encourage you, and cheer you on to follow new dreams.
Call or text today to talk to someone who will listen and offer hope.Learn More
I was just a freshman in college when I found out I was pregnant. I was a high achiever with a plan for my life, which did not include getting pregnant.
When I found out, I was in total shock. I told my parents and they were as shocked as I was. They were a little bit disappointed, but very supportive.
Making a Decision
My first meeting with one of the staff at First Care sticks out to me. We spent a lot of time talking about how I was feeling, what I was thinking, what I was concerned about.
I’m wired by nature to want to know the information and make a plan and stick to the plan.
Instead, my time at First Care caused me to dig into what was going on in my head and heart: what I wanted, what I was scared about, what I imagined for my future and how my options fit into that.
First Care provided me with helpful information and long term goals to think about. As I thought through my options, I did consider adoption, but ultimately realized I wanted to raise my child. I knew I could do it because there was support available, even if my relationship with the baby’s father was complicated and difficult.
After I made my decision, I enrolled in their parenting program called Every Family and attended once a week throughout my pregnancy.
Through this program, I was able to learn about healthy development and growth. I was also able to meet with Parenting Coaches who were genuinely interested in my life and how I was doing. This program helped me feel less anxious about becoming a mother and it also provided me with practical items, such as diapers and clothes for my baby.
My son was born in May of 2015 and being his mom has been absolutely awesome. It hasn’t been without hardship, but the joys have far outweighed the hard days.
Since then, I graduated from the parenting program after two years in the program. I finished college with two degrees and I married the love of my life, a man who has been a part of my son’s life since he was four months old.
First Care Pregnancy Center is a safe place to talk about how you are feeling and thinking and not have to worry about everyone’s opinion. There really is no judgment or pressure. I am so thankful for my experience there and for being able to be a mom.
Our centers are currently open the following days and times for the month of June:
Minneapolis: Open Tuesday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. (Closed Mondays)
Richfield: Open Monday- Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (closing at 4:00 p.m. the week of June 1)
Rochester: Open Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (closing at 4:00 p.m. the week of June 1)
Saint Paul: Open Monday – Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (closing at 4:00 p.m. the week of June 1)
Please contact the office nearest you by phone or text to inquire about specific services available at this time. Pregnancy testing appointments may be scheduled online, however other appointments need to be booked by phone or text. We have also compiled a comprehensive list of community resources to serve your family during this time.
Additionally, we are taking precautions to sanitize and screening all staff and clients before providing services. The health and well being of our clients is our top priority as well as ensuring that our volunteers and staff are healthy too. In order to ensure these standards, we are responding in the following ways:
- We are sanitizing all surfaces that are frequently touched after every appointment. We continue to maintain the highest standards of cleanliness within our centers and pay close attention to disinfecting all surfaces possible.
- All clients and staff will be asked to wear a mask for the duration of their visit. Masks will be available for those who do not have their own.
- We will have hand sanitizer available and encourage clients to wash hands before their appointments.
- We are also asking anyone who is currently experiencing any symptoms including respiratory, fever, cough, congestion, etc. to see a medical provider and we will ask them to not attend their appointment and instead reschedule for a later time. This is any person, whether client or the child(ren) of clients, family members, etc.
- We will ask you to reschedule if our staff notices a patient experiencing any cold like symptoms or illness.
- Any staff or volunteer experiencing virus symptoms will be asked to stay home.
Are you considering abortion as an option? Below you will find information on abortion costs and the different types of procedures in Minnesota.
If you are undecided about a plan for your pregnancy and you would like extra support, consider Options Counseling with one of our staff.
We always recommend taking time to get all the information about your options so you can make a well-informed decision about your pregnancy and your future.
Factors that Affect Abortion Cost:
- Stage of pregnancy. This means how far along you are in the pregnancy and how developed the baby is. This is best determined by having an ultrasound. Abortion clinics charge a fee for the ultrasound. Some pregnancy centers, like First Care, offer free ultrasounds.
- Insurance. Private insurances may cover the cost of an abortion. Many states do not cover abortion under Medicaid plans.
- Your state’s abortion laws. For instance, Minnesota has enacted the “Women’s Right To Know” informed consent law requiring that at least 24 hours before an abortion takes place, a woman must receive information about the medical risks associated with the abortion procedure, the gestational age of the unborn child, and the medical assistance benefits and child support payments available to her.
Minnesota Abortion Costs
In the state of Minnesota there are four different abortion procedures:
- A Medication Abortion (or the Abortion Pill): within 10 weeks of gestation
- Suction Aspiration/ Vacuum Abortion: 6-12 weeks gestation
- Dilation and Curettage: 13-16 weeks gestation
- Dilation and Evacuation: 17-21 weeks gestation*
*After 21 weeks you are unable to legally get an abortion in the state of Minnesota.
The cost of each abortion procedure varies and can have a range in price depending on which clinic/provider you see. Below is the typical range for abortion costs in Minnesota (without insurance).
|Abortion Pill||Vacuum Abortion||Dilation and Curettage Abortion||Dilation and Evacuation Abortion|
Please also be aware that the FDA highly discourages buying or procuring abortion medications online. Drugs from unknown sources can be dangerous and ineffective.
Women who receive one abortion procedure may also find that they’ll need another procedure for successful termination.
Explore Your Options at First Care
It is good to take time to think about your options. At our First Care centers we offer a variety of pregnancy related services for free to help you navigate your pregnancy journey and take time to explore your options.
While we do not provide or refer for abortion, our services are all free of charge and are a good first step if you are facing an unplanned pregnancy. Our medical staff can run a free pregnancy test for you—even if you’ve taken one at home.
If you are considering abortion, our sonographers can provide a free limited ultrasound to determine how far along you are and if your pregnancy is viable. In some cases, women experience miscarriages before they even have an abortion.Learn More