Emergency contraception (morning after pill or IUD) can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if a contraceptive method fails e.g a condom splits or pills are missed. The sooner you take action the more effective the treatment will be.
Women of any age can access free emergency contraception at their GP or local sexual health service.
Many pharmacies are able to provide the emergency contraceptive pill (morning after pill) for a fee and some are able to provide it as a free service for 13-24 year olds. If you are planning on visiting a pharmacy for the morning after pill we advise you to phone ahead to ensure the service will be available when you visit.
There are two types of emergency contraception –
- the emergency contraceptive pill (sometimes called the morning after pill) – this can be used up to 5 days after sex
- the IUD (intrauterine device, or coil) – an IUD can be inserted up to five days after unprotected sex, or up to five days after the earliest time you could have ovulated.
If you are not sure about timing you can discuss your options.
Visit NHS Choices for more information about emergency contraception
Important information for women taking other medicines which might reduce how well emergency contraception works