Bleeding After Taking Plan B: Common Questions 74


Plan B, also known as the morning after pill, is an emergency contraceptive that if taken within 72 hours of an unprotected sexual act can help dramatically reduce the chance of pregnancy. However, chances are if you are searching about bleeding after taking Plan B you already know what it is because you’ve taken it.

bleeding after taking plan B morning after pill

Is bleeding after taking Plan B or emergency contraceptives normal?

Yes, a little over 26 percent of all women that use a form of emergency contraception experience irregular periods afterwards being early, late, lighter, or heavier than their normal cycle. You may also experience spotting and menstrual-cycle-like symptoms such as abdominal cramping, nausea, fatigue, and headache. Nausea is the most common side effect of plan B after irregular bleeding occurring in approximately 25 to 50 percent of all woman depending on the particular pill taken. If any of your side effects are on-going (beyond your next period) or become severe such as bleeding that requires sanitary changes every hour, consult a health care professional.

What causes bleeding after taking Plan B?

Emergency contraceptives work similar to a regular birth control pill except that they contain significantly higher doses of hormones. It is because the majority of morning after pills, and the most commonly used pill, Plan B, contain progesterone or are only progesterone that bleeding after taking the pill is so common.

Progesterone is a hormone the body produces naturally to maintain the uterine lining and prevent ovulation. Normally, after ovulation the rise of progesterone is signaled. If you become pregnant, progesterone levels continue to rise. If you don’t become pregnant, they drop, and this causes your period to begin. In essence, birth control uses progesterone to fake the body into believing it’s already pregnant to prevent ovulation (you don’t ovulate during pregnancy). High levels like those in Plan B will also thicken the uterine lining significantly, which would make implantation difficult.

As it’s a sudden drop in progesterone that usually causes your period,  the sudden drop when the dose from an emergency pill dissipates can cause bleeding. The introduction of progesterone outside of the body’s natural cycle also often causes a bit of hormonal imbalance which may lead to irregular spotting. Progesterone, being responsible for many common pregnancy symptoms, can likewise cause pregnancy-like symptoms outside of pregnancy along with bleeding.

Long story short: Hormonal imbalance.

When will my menstrual cycle return to normal after irregular bleeding caused by the morning after pill?

In most cases, menstruation returns to normal the following month. In fact, you may even still have your regular scheduled period even if you already had bleeding shortly after taking the morning after pill. If menstruation continues to be irregular, consult a health care professional.

Can I get pregnant after taking Plan B?

Yes. Not only are Plan B and other emergency contraceptive pills not 100 percent effective, but when ovulation will continue after taking the pill is uncertain. The effectiveness of Plan B may also hinge on when in your cycle it was taken. If you do not wish to become pregnant, you should continue a regular birth control method immediately. Do not use the morning after pill as a regular form of birth control. They are not designed for frequent use. If you do wish to become pregnant, the use of Plan B will not prevent or effect future pregnancies.


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74 thoughts on “Bleeding After Taking Plan B: Common Questions

  • Sanah Binte Zahir

    I deliver my dd on 27th Oct 2017 i m breastfeeding my daughter i had unprotected sex with my husband on 15th dec although he ejaculated outside and is not penetrative sex but i took ecp on 17 dec then after 3 days i got my first period after delivery ( i don’t know exactly, if its because of ecp or its my menstrual cycle) then we had no sex. Again on 16 jan we use candom but unfortunately it broke and i took ecp after 5 mins now on 21 jan i got brownish bleeding and it is neither a spotting nor discharge its flow is like my normal period..
    I m exclusively breastfeeding.. Could i b pregnant…?? Plzz ans i m worried.. Thanks

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Unfortunately in your case I would take a test no matter what 14+ days after the last act (where the condom broke). Breastfeeding itself can cause irregular bleeding, and two doses of EC so close together would make that even worse. The good news is that same hormonal havoc that’s causing the bleeding makes it unlikely you’re pregnant, but there’s always a chance even if small and you could be pregnant even with the bleeding.

  • Annonymous!

    Hello, i had sex just after ny period has ended about two days, i got my last period on the 9th of December and it ended on 11th, i had sex on the 13th, it was unprotected but he didnt ejaculate in me at all! After of so much paranoia i took plan B after three hours. 4 days i had a light bleeding that continued to be heavy as a normal period, this lasted for just three days.
    Now, my normal period was expected to come from 9 days ago and it still didn’t come till now.
    P.s, i made a home test for pregnancy and it showed negative and i made this three days ago, could i be pregnant?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Sex just after a period is already unlikely to result in pregnancy, if he also didn’t ejaculate and you took plan B, your chances are very, very low if any at all. Plan B often causes irregular bleeding and a delayed period though, so that’s more likely what you’re seeing. I don’t know what you mean by “made” a test, but if it was a store-bought actual pregnancy test taken at least 14 days after the act, it should be accurate.

  • Mococo

    So I had unprotected sex Jan 1 I took Plan b Wednesday in the morning , wasent 72 hours yet , so then yestherday I started bleeding but brown does that mean that the pill work because that’s what my friends said ?? Please help me I’m irregular on period

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      It doesn’t exactly mean the pill worked. You can have bleeding after taking plan B and still be pregnant. It just means that the hormone dose from your pills has dissipated.

  • Anonymous

    Hi, I had sex 2 days after my period ended, in which I took the emergency contraceptive 3 hours later.its Been a week and I’m having this brown, pinkish, red discharge, plus a lot of cramping . I have a regular cycle of 27 days. Could I be pregnant?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Sex just after a period is unlikely to result in pregnancy unless you have a very short cycle. Your bleeding was likely from the Plan B use, though anytime there is an oops like this, it’s best to test 14+ days after the act just to be sure.

  • Elena

    I had unprotected sex on the 24th of December at around 1:30 AM a day or two after my period. I took the plan b that day later on at about 3-4 pm. I started to bleed a day or two after taking the pill, is this normal? So far I’ve been bleeding for what is now 3 days, and I’m not sure if it’s implantation bleeding? When I had sex, he did not cum in me, and says there was no precum but it be sure I took it. I am very worried I am pregnant. My cycles usually last 5-6 days and I’m not due for another period until the end of this month. Do you have any advice or help?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Sex just after a period is already unlikely to result in pregnancy, along with just the chance of precum, plan B use, and bleeding, I’d feel comfortable saying you aren’t pregnant, but you can always test 14+ days after the act to verify. Chances are your bleeding is a result of the plan B itself.

  • Anonymous

    I had sex with my boyfriend and while having intercourse he felt the condom rip when he put it in. So he took it out immediately but wasn’t sure that he cummed. I took plan B an hour after having sex. A week later, now, I’ve been experiencing really light bleeding, the blood is brown. I don’t know if that means the pill is working or if it’s bleeding due to a sign of pregnancy. Please help

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Plan B very frequently causes spotting as hormone dose in the pills dissipates, so that’s likely what happened here. If the condom ripped on first insertion, it’s also unlikely he ejaculated. You can always take a test to confirm.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you for answering that question but I came back with another one. I’m done with the brown spotting and I wanted to know when will I receive my actual period. I would usually have my period on the 6th but due to the pill, I’m not sure when I will receive it

        • Life with Gremlins admin

          That’s impossible to say I’m afraid. Every woman reacts differently to large hormone doses like this and your hormonal state prior to use can also play a role. Some ladies get their period early, others late, and a few on time. When it is late, it’s usually not a significant delay though (days to a week, not months).

  • Anonymous

    I had unprotected sex a week ago , took the Plan B pill less than 24 hour afterwards , now it’s a week later and I’m spotting/bleeding with cramps and it started on my ovulation date , do I have anything to worry about , is this implantation bleeding ?? or the side effects from the Plan B pill

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      If you weren’t due to ovulate for an entire week, pregnancy is unlikely even without the Plan B use, so with it, well, it’s even less likely. Plan B very frequently causes spotting as hormone dose in the pills dissipates, so that’s likely what happened here. You can always take a test to confirm.

  • Anonymous

    I had unprotected sex on December 13 which was the last day of my period and 2 hours after that I took plan b and after 4 days I bleed. It was heavy at first and it feels like im on my period. I’m just worried. Does this means in pregnant or not?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Sex just after a period is unlikely to result in pregnancy. The bleeding is likely from the Plan B. Anytime you’re in doubt you should test after your period is due, but you’re probably in the clear here. I apologize for the slow reply over the holiday.

        • Life with Gremlins admin

          Yes, when ovulation returns after taking plan B is really variable from person to person and can even vary by use in the same person. Also keep in mind that since it’s been more than 5 days, ovulating now has no effect on your chances of pregnancy from the prior act (it’s actually a great sign the pill worked and you aren’t pregnant as you can’t ovulate while pregnant).

          • Life with Gremlins admin

            It can. Withdrawal bleeding is entirely hormonal and created artificially by the hormones in plan B. You are less likely to be pregnant after taking plan B, but it’s not impossible.

  • Me

    I took Plan B on the fifth day of my period after giving my boyfriend a handjob (I was paranoid because I ended up getting some of his precum on my hands, and then went to pee after only wiping my hands instead of washing them). He kept telling me that there was nothing for me to worry about, since the small amount sperm that was present in precum tends to die pretty quickly after being exposed to air. Not to mention that I didn’t finger myself nor did I touch my vagina at all in that interval, but I did touch the lace of my panties on accident when I went to pee, so I had to make sure. I’ve heard that sperms can survive for up to a week, so I guess I was pretty paranoid. Hahaha… So four days after taking the pill, I started spotting. Am I okay?

    • Life with Gremlins admin

      Sperm can survive around 5 days IF they are in cervical mucus within the vagina. On surfaces, they do indeed perish pretty fast. Precum has very low sperm content in the vast majority of cases, if at all, the chance of pregnancy from residual precum on hands that didn’t even enter your vagina is well, pretty close to impossible (on top of that you’d have to be ovulating to get pregnant).

          • Me

            Please, i need your help
            I had unprotected sex with my boyfriend right immediately after my period finished on the 11th of december, we had it on 13th of December.
            He didn’t cum in me but because i got paranoid so much about the precum, i took plan B after 5 hours. I started having light bleeding a week after taking the plan B that turned into a heavy bleeding ana lasted for 3 days.
            Now i’m expecting my period to come in it’s normal date, it’s been late for a day. I wnated to know there is chances for me to be pregnant or something? I’m so much confused and scared please help

          • Life with Gremlins admin

            Sex just after a period is unlikely to result in pregnancy unless you have a very short cycle. Your bleeding was likely from the Plan B use, and your period may also be delayed. You can always take a test to confirm (you are in accurate range now).