Emergency contraception is an effective way to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or after another form of contraception has failed. Depending on the type being used, emergency contraception can be used up to 5 days after unprotected sex to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. When taken correctly, emergency contraception can be up to 99% effective.
There are two main types of emergency contraception routinely available in the UK: the morning-after pill and the intrauterine device (IUD). The morning-after pill is often more accessible to those wishing to prevent an unwanted pregnancy since it is available from multiple places like pharmacies and sexual health clinics. IUDs generally need to be fitted by a health professional like a GP or nurse.
How Does Emergency Contraception Work?
The two most common emergency contraceptive pills are Levonelle and ellaOne. These work by delaying or preventing ovulation. Ovulation is part of your menstrual cycle that releases an egg which can then be fertilized by sperm. If ovulation is delayed, an egg won’t be released and your chance of becoming pregnant is greatly reduced. Your cycle and fertility won’t be permanently affected by taking emergency contraception pills.
The IUD is a small plastic and copper device that is fitted by a doctor or nurse into your uterus (womb). The copper it contains prevents fertilization by causing a chemical change in sperm before fertilization can begin.
When Do I Take Emergency Contraception?
Emergency contraception is used when you’ve had unprotected sex or your method of contraception has failed, such as the condom you were using broke. The sooner you use it, the more effective it will be.
- Levonelle: Needs to be taken within 3 days of unprotected sex.
- ellaOne: Needs to be taken within 5 days.
- IUD: Can be fitted up to 5 days after unprotected sex or up to 5 days after your expected ovulation date. Once fitted, you can leave it in and use it as your regular contraceptive method. It’s considered the most effective form of birth control.
Emergency Contraception Near Me
Some GP surgeries, GUM clinics, and walk-in centers can provide you with free emergency contraception. However, if you want to skip the wait and get help fast, we can help. Our pharmacists can provide you with the emergency contraceptive pill quickly and discreetly without you needing to see a GP.
Click here to know more about our emergency contraception services.