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.
- “Levonelle” is a pill that can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex.
- “Ella-one” is a pill that can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex.
Both Levonelle and Ella-one are types of Emergency Hormonal Contraception or EHC.
An Intrauterine device (IUD), sometimes called a coil, can also be used as Emergency Contraception up to 5 days after having sex, find out more below.
Where to get Emergency Hormonal Contraception?
You can get EHC for free from:
- Sexual Health Clinics
- Can be bought from Community Pharmacies (Free for under 19’s, see below)
- Minor Injuries Unit at the Hospital (but NOT A&E)
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.