What to do when the condom breaks: A look at Plan B

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Stephanie Totten

You’re caught up in the throes of passion and the unthinkable happens: the condom breaks. You were responsible enough to slap on a rubber in the first place, but you realize now your efforts are in vain as thoughts of a screaming infant and STIs run through your mind. So, your protection failed, and you’re terrified, what now?

The chances of getting pregnant from unprotected sex can be as high as 33 per cent, so it’s definitely not something you want to take a chance on. Even if sex doesn’t occur in the fertile stage of the woman’s cycle, she can still get pregnant because sperm can live for many days in the fallopian tubes.

Thankfully, there is a Plan B, literally. Plan B or “the morning after pill” is an emergency contraceptive that, if taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sex, can prevent pregnancy.

Plan B works in three ways: it prevents the release of an egg, it prevents fertilization of the egg and it prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus. Plan B is not an abortion pill and unfortunately, it does not protect against sexually transmitted infections. You can purchase Plan B at a pharmacy without a perscription.

If you aren’t sure about your partner’s sexual history, it’s probably a good idea to get tested for infections. You can make an appointment with your family doctor, at the UNBSJ student health centre, or the Saint John Sexual Health Centre.

If you have any reason to believe that you have been exposed to HIV, you should go to the emergency room ASAP. It’s important to get tested if you are not 100 per cent sure that your partner is clean because most people don’t show symptoms right away and some never do.

It’s important to watch your body for signs of pregnancy. Even if you took Plan B, there is no guarantee that it will prevent pregnancy and the sooner you know, the sooner you can decide what to do about it.

If you lucked out and were able to steer clear of the negative consequences of your condom malfunction, it’s never a bad idea to plan for future emergencies. Accidents happen, but they don’t have to be the end of the world. Consider a back up birth control, like hormonal birth control, spermicide, etc in combination with condoms to cover your butt if something like this ever happens again. Happy frolicking!



Emily is in her fourth year of Political Science. She loves studying and academics which follows into her research work. She's a stern black coffee drinker and is a proud Acadienne. When she's not working or doing school work, you can find Emily listening to 70s music on vinyl and watching Parks and Recreation. If you ask her about parliamentary institutions, she won't stop talking.