Is there a Plan B weight limit and is that a problem?
Some studies suggest that the active ingredient in Plan B at standard doses may be less effective in people who weigh more than 70.3 kilograms. However, people over this body weight can still take it.
Plan B contains the hormone levonorgestrel. According to studies, Plan B can prevent one-step 84% Pregnancies after unprotected intercourse.
The interest group Planned parenting recommends that those who weigh heavier consider other emergency contraceptive methods such as the copper intrauterine device (IUD). Scientists suspect that these are equally effective in all people, regardless of body weight.
Plan B doesn’t have a weight limit preventing people with a higher body mass index (BMI) from taking it. It is still safe to use on those with a heavier body weight, and it will still greatly reduce the chance of pregnancy if a person is within. occupies 3 days having unprotected sex.
However, Planned Parenthood recommends that those weighing over 155 pounds (70.3 kg) consider other emergency contraception methods. This is due to studies suggesting that body weight can affect the way levonorgestrel works at standard doses.
Research has found a link between a higher BMI and an increased number of pregnancies in those who take levonorgestrel to prevent pregnancy.
A 2015 study found that people taking emergency contraception increased the likelihood of pregnancy at a body weight of 70.3 kg and increased to a pregnancy rate of 6.4% at 79.8 kg. The pregnancy rate in those of lesser weight was 1.4%.
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However, not all studies have found such significant differences in the effectiveness of levonorgestrel. A Review 2017 of four randomized studies involving 6,873 women found that pregnancy rates were different between those with higher and lower BMI, but the risk was lower than in these previous studies.
The researchers found that people with a BMI of 30 or greater had a 2% pregnancy rate after taking 1.5 milligrams of levonorgestrel, compared to an average rate of 1.2% for all participants.
Scientists aren’t sure why body weight appears to affect how levonorgestrel works – it may be related to the level of levonorgestrel in the blood.
That has led some to do so Health organizations to suggest that doctors give higher doses of levonorgestrel to people above a certain body weight. However, there is still no research to confirm this is safe or effective.
Plan B still offers significant protection against pregnancy, regardless of body weight. Even studies that find a difference in effectiveness find that the overall pregnancy rate low in people who use it properly.
So, if a person with a higher BMI took Plan B to prevent pregnancy, there is still a high chance it will work.
Plan B is one of several emergency contraception options. Other options may be more effective for people with a higher BMI.
Similar to Plan B and other pills containing levonorgestrel, ulipristal acetate prevents ovulation, which reduces the chances of pregnancy. There is one brand of this drug that is Ella.
Ella is the most effective type of morning-after pill and remains just as effective for people weighing up to 195 lb (88.4 kg). Unlike Plan B, however, Ella requires a prescription from a doctor or nurse.
Ella can also contaminate breast milk, which means a nursing person will have to throw away their milk for about 36 hours after ingestion.
Find out more about the Ella morning-after pill.
The copper IUD is the most effective method of emergency contraception. A 2018 review argues that it is also the most suitable option for those with a higher BMI, as it works just as well on people of all sizes.
A copper IUD is a small device that a doctor inserts into a person’s uterus. It is both an emergency contraceptive and a long-acting form of birth control.
People can have copper spirals like Paraguard within. use 120 hours or 5 days, having unprotected sex. A person needs to schedule an appointment with a doctor for the adjustment.
The procedure can cause pain or bleeding after insertion, and the copper IUD can also affect periods, making them heavier. However, this doesn’t happen to everyone, and the side effects may decrease over time.
People can keep the copper IUD for up to 12 years before it needs to be replaced. As a general contraceptive, Paraguard is 99.9% effective against pregnancy from the first day.
Learn more about the copper spiral.
Oral emergency contraception works by preventing ovulation, while the copper coil makes the uterine lining unresponsive to implantation. While home kits are available to predict ovulation, these are not a reliable indicator of whether emergency contraception has worked. The only reliable way to find out is by taking a pregnancy test when your next period is due.
For most people, this means getting a pregnancy test around 2 weeks after ovulation. A negative pregnancy test suggests, but doesn’t prove that emergency contraception worked.
A person doesn’t need a prescription or doctor’s license to take Plan B. However, it’s a good idea to speak to a doctor if a person:
- needs emergency contraception but weighs over 70.3 kg
- has already implemented Plan B and has concerns about its effectiveness
- Have severe or long-lasting side effects of emergency contraception
- thinks she might be pregnant
Plan B is an emergency contraceptive that contains levonorgestrel. Some research suggests that increasing body weight may decrease the effectiveness of standard doses of levonorgestrel in preventing pregnancy. Although several studies have shown this, it is not known how body weight affects the effectiveness of levonorgestrel.
Planned Parenthood recommends individuals with a body weight over 155 lbs (70.3 kg) use either Ella or a copper IUD instead of Plan B. However, this does not mean that people with this weight cannot take Plan B or will not work.
No emergency contraceptive can prevent 100% of all pregnancies. Even in people with a lower body weight, the effectiveness of Plan B is around 84%. People who have concerns about whether Plan B is right for them should speak to a doctor or sex medicine professional.