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Emergency contraception

Brook Dudley – Integrated sexual health service

If you’ve had vaginal sex without using a condom, or your contraceptive method failed (e.g. you missed a pill or a condom split) you may be able to prevent pregnancy by using emergency contraception, also known as the morning after pill or the copper coil, within five days.

Emergency contraception is most effective if you take it as early as possible.

What is emergency contraception?

Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy. There are two types of emergency contraception: the emergency hormonal contraception (sometimes called the morning after pill or emergency contraceptive pill) and the copper coil, sometimes called  the non-hormonal coil. The method you use depends on your preference and your risk of pregnancy. You can use our Risk of Pregnancy Calculator to work out what your risk is.

If you have had unprotected sex or your method failed, you also need to consider STIs

Where can I get emergency contraception?

You can get emergency contraception for free at our clinics. To get emergency contraception, drop in to one of our walk-in clinics during opening hours or phone us on 01384 881830 to talk to a friendly member of the team.

Our Risk of Pregnancy Calculator can help you understand your emergency contraception needs and which method will be best for you. It’s really helpful if you can complete the Risk of Pregnancy Calculator before you come to the clinic and bring your results with you.

What if the clinics are closed?

I’m unsure if I need it?

If you’ve had unprotected vaginal sex without contraception or where the condom broke or came off, emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy if you haven’t ovulated.

Our Risk of Pregnancy Calculator can help you make a decision about using emergency contraception and let you know which type you’ll need.

What if it’s too late?

A copper coil (IUD) can sometimes work up to 6 days after you had vaginal sex without contraception, depending on your menstrual cycle. So if it’s been 5-7 days, it’s still worth getting in touch with us as soon as possible.

If it’s been more than a week since you had vaginal sex without contraception, it’s best to wait until three weeks after and then take a pregnancy test. We can support you with pregnancy testing and talking through your options.

What if the clinic is closed?

If you are unable to get to Brook Dudley, or you need emergency contraception when we are closed, you can get it for free from:

  • Some pharmacies (you can call ahead and ask if they provide free emergency contraception)
  • Most sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics
  • Most NHS walk-in centres and minor injuries units
  • Most GP surgeries
  • Some hospital accident and emergency (A&E) departments

You can also buy the emergency contraceptive pill (the ‘morning after pill’) from some pharmacies and online with prices starting from around £25.

You can use Brook’s Find a Service Tool to find other emergency contraception providers near you.