Bleeding After Taking Plan B: Common Questions 192

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.

Is bleeding after taking Plan B or emergency contraceptives normal?

bleeding after plan BYes, 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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I had sex on my period May 11th and had no worry because we used a condom. A week later I had sex again on May 18 and got a plan B the very next morning. I am now experiencing some what I think is spotting. Is that normal?


I had unprotected sex on May 2 (cycle day 8), he did withdrawal but I’m afraid of precum. I had my period on April 24, which lasted for about 3 days. A day after the unprotected sex, I took the morning after pill (used the yuzpe method since morning after pills don’t exist here in Philippines). I had my withdrawal bleeding on May 10, and it lasted 5 days. Do I count that as my cycle day 1? I had another unprotected sex on May 17 (which is cycle day 8 if I count it from my withdrawal bleeding, and… Read more »


Hi i had unprotected sex with my boyfriend two days after my period. He did not ejaculate inside me but I was still scared of pre cum so I took the pill two days later about 50 hours later. After six days of taking the pill I began to bleed, it’s not super light or super heavy it’s less than normal to me from my normal period. I was supposed to ovulate yesterday but I am still bleeding. And I am also supposed to get my period on the 28th. My question is could I be pregnant? And also will… Read more »