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What’s the Difference Between the Abortion Pill and Plan B?

When you’re afraid you might be pregnant, trying to understand your options can be frustrating. You already feel vulnerable.

Knowing the difference between the abortion pill and Plan B will help you. Essentially, the abortion pill is an abortifacient, which means it ends an early pregnancy. It does not prevent pregnancy from happening.

Plan B is an emergency contraceptive, which means that it prevents conception from occurring.

Read this article to learn more about how each method works. 

Can an Abortion Pill Work Like Birth Control?

The abortion pill, which is two different drugs, is FDA-approved to end a developing pregnancy through 10 weeks gestational age (how many weeks you’ve been pregnant). 

The abortion happens by first taking mifepristone, which ends the pregnancy, and then misoprostol, which forces your body to contract and expel the pregnancy and tissue.

The abortion pill ends a pregnancy rather than preventing one. Because the medication has a number of side effects, some of which may be serious, it is not used  as birth control.

Taking the abortion pill causes vaginal bleeding and abdominal cramping. You also may experience other side effects like diarrhea, headache, chills, fever, nausea, and vomiting. 

Experiencing risks are rare, but they can occur. These risks include:

  • Infection
  • Digestive system discomfort
  • Heavy, prolonged bleeding
  • Fever
  • An ongoing pregnancy (if the abortion pill is unsuccessful)
  • Incomplete abortion 

How Does Plan B Work?

Also known as the “morning after pill,” Plan B can be taken up to 72 hours after sex. While not recommended for everyday use, it prevents or delays ovulation, so you’re not at risk of a fertilized egg after sex. 

Side effects are possible with Plan B and can vary:

  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Breast tenderness
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Lower abdominal pain or cramps
  • Heavier menstrual cramps
  • Bleeding between periods

In rare instances, pregnancy is still possible, so it’s a good idea to schedule a follow-up exam or ultrasound.

What are My Options?

No matter where you are on your pregnancy journey, PRC Medical can support you with no-cost pregnancy services, including pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, and other practical resources.

If you’re uncertain how or if you want to move forward with your pregnancy, we offer confidential consultations where you can discuss your questions and concerns and receive fact-based education in a caring environment. 

You are not alone! Contact us today to schedule an appointment.