Having unprotected sex puts you at risk of pregnancy, even if you’re on your period or just come off your period. If you’ve had unprotected sex, missed a pill or a condom has split, it’s important you act quickly if you don’t want to be pregnant. There are 2 methods of emergency contraception: the ‘morning after pill’ and the IUD. The sooner you take or get emergency contraception after unprotected sex, the more effective it is!
The emergency contraceptive pill works by preventing or delaying ovulation so that you don’t release an egg to be fertilized. There are two types; ‘Levonelle’ must be taken within 3 days (72 hours) of unprotected sex and ‘ellaOne’ must be taken within 5 days (120 hours).
The IUD or copper coil is a small, ‘T’ shaped device inserted into the uterus by a doctor. It has to be inserted within 5 days of unprotected sex. It can be left in as a regular contraceptive method.
Using emergency contraception is not the same as an abortion as the egg has not been fertilized yet.
You can get emergency contraception free from your GP, emergency doctors and walk in clinic, sexual health clinics and most pharmacies.