Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if the contraception you have used has failed – for example, a condom has split or you have missed a pill.
There are 2 types of emergency contraception:
- The emergency contraceptive pill – Levonelle or ellaOne (the "morning after" pill)
- The intrauterine device (IUD or coil)
- You need to take the emergency contraceptive pill within 3 days (Levonelle) or 5 days (ellaOne) of unprotected sex for it to be effective – the sooner you take it, the more effective it'll be.
- The IUD can be fitted up to 5 days after unprotected sex, or up to 5 days after the earliest time you could have ovulated, for it to be effective.
- The IUD is more effective than the contraceptive pill at preventing pregnancy – less than 1% of women who use the IUD get pregnant.
The emergency contraceptive pill is widely available. You can also get it from your GP and one of our clinics. Contact us if you require the coil.
If you live in Hertfordshire and are 16 years of age or above, you can also order Emergency contraception for free and on-line from SH:24.
Some pharmacies offer the emergency contraception pill free to under 25s. See the map below. It is also available for over 25s to buy.
It is always important to call the pharmacy before you go to check that the qualified pharmacist is available to speak to you.