Is Plan B same as Plan c?

Despite having similar names, Plan B and “Plan C”, or medication abortion, are two different reproductive health options. While one is used to prevent pregnancy, the other is used to terminate pregnancy. It’s important to understand the difference between the two in order to best protect yourself from an unwanted pregnancy.

Read on to learn about Plan B vs “Plan C” so you can help yourself and those you care about find the necessary treatment for their specific circumstance.

What is emergency contraception?

Emergency contraception (also known as the “morning after pill”) is a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy up to five days after unprotected sex. Because sperm can survive in the cervix for as many as five days after unprotected sex, if ovulation occurs sometime within this period you can become pregnant. The hormones in emergency contraception signal your ovary to delay releasing an egg during this time. This can prevent pregnancy by ensuring that an egg and sperm do not meet in your uterus, as long as you haven’t already ovulated before taking emergency contraception.

Emergency contraceptives

Types of emergency contraception (EC)

While emergency contraception is often used to mean “the morning after pill,” emergency contraception comes in 4 options. From most effective to least effective:

  • Copper/Hormonal IUD
  • Yuzpe method

To learn more about each option, check out our blog post dedicated to emergency contraception.

Pandia Health PSA: Plan B and its generics do not work as well if your BMI is 26 or greater. So please check your BMI. If your BMI is 30, then it will NOT work.

Plan C pill

What is the “Plan C” pill?

The “Plan C” pill is actually two pills, mifepristone and misoprostol, that can be taken up to 10 weeks after your last menstrual cycle to induce a miscarriage. This method is known as a medication abortion.

A trusted resource for information about medication abortion is https://www.plancpills.org/ which offers legal and medical resources as well as telemedicine options.

How does the “Plan C” pill work? How does medication abortion work?

The “Plan C” pill is actually 5 pills total consisting of 2 different medications and is called medication abortion. Mifepristone blocks pregnancy hormones from working and Misoprostol causes cramping and bleeding. It’s like a miscarriage (spontaneous abortion). There’s a few hours of heavy bleeding followed by a few days of light bleeding.

To learn more about how a medication abortion works check out this video.

How does the “Plan C” pill differ from surgical abortion?

The main difference between the “plan C” pill and surgical abortion is that one is done by medication, the other is done by a mechanical, physical procedure. While a surgical abortion is a faster process, a medication abortion is less invasive. Keep in mind, scheduling an appointment for the physical procedure can sometimes be a timely process. Medication abortion can only be done up to 10 weeks after your last period and surgical can be performed up to 22 weeks after your last period. Medication abortion is also slightly less effective than a surgical abortion with a 95-97% efficacy rate. The cost of abortions vary depending the stage of pregnancy, insurance plans, and method. In general, medication abortions cost less.

What is the difference between emergency contraception and “Plan C”?

The difference between emergency contraception and “Plan C” pills is that emergency contraception works to prevent a pregnancy from occuring by blocking the egg from ever being fertilized by the sperm. On the other hand, “Plan C” terminates an existing pregnancy by disrupting the hormones needed to sustain a pregnancy. If you have a positive pregnancy test, the egg has already been fertilized, meaning emergency contraception is unable to have any effect.

What’s the takeaway?

Emergency contraception is not medication abortion. The 2 drugs came out at the same time and some people may still confuse them. If you have a positive pregnancy test, do NOT use emergency contraception. They won’t work to terminate a pregnancy and you are just wasting money. If you want a termination of a pregnancy (if you have positive pregnancy test), then you will need to either get a medication abortion or surgical one.

If you need financial or other assistance getting an abortion the National Network of Abortion Funds is your best resource or the National Abortion Federation.

How can Pandia Health help?

Pandia Health’s goal is to equip everyone with the proper information to make informed decisions about their reproductive health. While we do not offer “Plan C” pills, we offer emergency contraceptives such as Plan B and its generics and ella. We recommend everyone stock up on emergency contraception because accidents are unpredictable, and as our reproductive rights get restricted. Pandia Health’s mission is to empower all people with uteri to take control of their reproductive health with as much information as possible. Pandia Health advocates for women’s health decisions that are informed ones.

Frequent Asked Questions

What is “Plan C”?

“Plan C” is the nickname for 2 different medications used together, mifepristone and misoprostol. These 2 medications, when used together, induce an abortion. “Plan C” pills are considered a medication abortion.

How long is “Plan C” good for?

“Plan C” or medication abortion, can be used up to 10 weeks after the first day of your last menstrual cycle.

Where can I get “Plan C” pills?

www.plancpill.org is a great a resource for locating, obtaining and learning more about “Plan C” = medication abortion.

Is Plan B an abortion pill?

No. Plan B is an emergency contraceptive, meant to prevent a pregnancy from ever happening, versus abortion pills terminate an existing pregnancy.


Disclaimer: The above information is for general informational purposes only. Always seek the advice of your doctor/primary care provider for specific health needs.