Help! I need emergency contraception

Didn't use a condom? Condom split? Forgot to take your pill? Worried about pregnancy?

Don't panic ... if you have had sex without contraception or you think the contraception might have failed, it is still possible to prevent a pregnancy. However, you will still need an STI test.

Emergency hormonal contraception works by delaying ovulation, which is the release of the egg from the ovaries.


An emergency coil, or sometimes called an IUD, is inserted into the uterus, and may stop an egg from being fertilised or implanting in your womb.

How do you take emergency contraception?

Within the first 3 days ... take a pill known as Emergency Hormonal Contraception within 72 hours (3 days) after having unprotected sex. However, the sooner you take this the better, so it's best to take it in the first 24 hours.

After 3 days, but before 5 days ... you can have an emergency coil fitted.

Up to 5 days ... you can take a pill called EllaOne

After 5 days ... it is important that you get a 'pregnancy test' as soon as possible.

You do not need to cope with an unplanned pregnancy on your own.

If the pregnancy test shows that you are not pregnant (negative) or you have managed to have emergency contraception in time, this is a good time to think about your future contraception choices.

Where can you get emergency contraception?

Urgent appointments can be made with any GP or at the C&SH (Contraceptive and Sexual Health) Clinic. They can help and advise on all the options available.

For emergency hormonal contraception you can go to a SAFE pharmacy. If the pharmacist is not available, they will give you directions to an alternative pharmacy that can offer you free emergency contraception.

Tell the receptionist 'I need an urgent appointment to see a doctor or nurse or pharmacist today please'.

You can also speak to your school or college nurse. All information is completely confidential even in a school!

Please see the SERVICES webpage for times and locations to get your emergency contraception.