If you have had sex without a condom or if your usual contraception has let you down, there are different types of emergency contraception that you can use. Read more on the FPA website’s Contraception Guide.
Emergency Hormonal Contraception (EHC)
There are 2 types of EHC; “Levonelle” can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex and “Ella-one” other can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex. EHC is taken in pill form. If you need to use EHC, make sure you are getting the type that is appropriate for you.
An Intrauterine device (IUD) can be fitted up to 5 days after having unprotected sex.
Where to get it?
You can get emergency hormonal contraception for free from:
- Sexual health clinics
- Sexual and Reproductive clinics – bSHaW clinics
- Can be bought from community pharmacies
Contact your GP or phone bSHaW on 0300 303 2880 to arrange a coil fitting.
Having an IUD (also known as a coil) fitted can also prevent pregnancy if it is fitted within five day of having unprotected sex, or up to five days after the earliest time you could have released an egg (ovulation). It works by stopping a fertilised egg from implanting into the uterus. You can then continue to use the IUD as long-term contraception or have it removed during your next period, if you would prefer to use a different form of contraception.
Free EHC for under 19’s
If you are under 19 you can also get FREE emergency hormonal contraception from certain community pharmacies, find out which community pharmacies by selecting Emergency Hormonal Contraception from the “Choose a Service” drop down on the service finder tool. The type of EHC that community pharmacists distribute under this scheme is Levonelle.
The Levonelle emergency hormonal contraception (morning after pill) can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex (sex without a condom), or if your usual contraception has let you down. The sooner it is taken the more effective it is.
- Within the first 24 hours after unprotected sex it is 95% effective.
- Within 48 hours it is 85% effective.
- Within 72 hours it is 58% effective.