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Do you have a memory of your favorite annual exam with your gynecologist? For most women, the answer to that question would be a long stare back at me, followed by, “Umm…..no.” But I actually do have a favorite visit, because I saw a doctor that day who helped me be better prepared for the unexpected as a newlywed.
I was just 21 years old and had been married for about a month. At the conclusion of my appointment, I remember that she offered me a package of Plan B emergency contraception to keep in my medicine cabinet. When I asked her why she thought I should take it home with me she said, “Sometimes husbands do romantic things like surprise us with an overnight away, but they forget to pack the birth control pills in the overnight bag! It’s always a good idea to have a backup plan in place.”
My husband and I were mere weeks out of college and were working minimum wage jobs for the summer in California before we headed to the East Coast for me to begin graduate school. We hadn’t even been able to afford a honeymoon, so the idea of a surprise vacation was hilarious to me.
And then it happened. Hotels on the Las Vegas strip were advertising crazy cheap prices to lure in summer visitors and my husband decided to take us on a surprise drive from southern California for a fun and romantic overnight experience in Sin City.
Any guesses about what didn’t come with us?
I was so thankful that I didn’t have to scramble to make an appointment with a doctor (at the time, Plan B was only available through a prescription). I also had been educated about how the product actually worked, so I didn’t feel uneasy about it and this was something I personally felt comfortable taking. The pill has sometimes been referred to by others as an “abortion pill”, and it is important to know that this is not at all how this product works. The active ingredient is levonorgestrel, which is the same ingredient in many common birth control pills, but it is administered in a higher, single dose. It primarily works by delaying ovulation, helping to prevent a pregnancy before it begins. If you are already pregnant when taking the pill, it will not affect that pregnancy. This product is strictly for prevention. Furthermore, it’s important to note that it also has absolutely no impact on a woman’s future fertility.
Since the sooner a woman takes Plan B One-Step after an unplanned encounter or birth control failure the better (must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex or birth control slipup, and be sure to use as directed). It’s so great that it is now available over the counter without age restriction and without a prescription and no need for an ID. I found the product in the family planning aisle of my nearest Walgreens. I also took advantage of the $10 off coupon that is currently available. If you are unable to locate the product in your store, just check with the pharmacist, and they can help you find it – no questions asked.
It’s wonderful to feel in control of my body, my health, and my family planning. I’m grateful I was able to do that before we were ready to begin our family, and I’m grateful to be able to do it on this end, now that we feel our family is complete. You never really know what surprises might be waiting for you around the corner, so I recommend having Plan B in your medicine cabinet at the ready. With the coupon offer, it’s a great time to get your plan in place!