Emergency Contraception

If you have had unprotected sex or think your contraceptive method has not worked and you are worried that you might get pregnant, you can get emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) which can prevent a pregnancy. It is also sometimes called the ‘morning after pill’. Emergency contraception is more effective the sooner you take it, so act fast.

There are three different types of emergency contraception:

  • Levonelle is one pill taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sex
  • EllaOne is one pill taken within 120 hours of having unprotected sex
  • the emergency intrauterine device (copper IUD) can be fitted in your uterus up to 120 hours after unprotected sex or within five days of the earliest time you could have released an egg

Emergency contraception can be very effective so the sooner you see someone to discuss your options the better.

To access Emergency Contraception you can make an appointment at one of our Sexual Health clinics or visit your GP.  If you are 25 or under, you can access emergency contraception tablets from pharmacies for free in Nottingham City and County. If you are over 25 you can buy it over the counter.

A health professional will talk to you about your medical history and any side effects. They may also refer you for STI testing and further discussion about future contraception options.


How will I know if my emergency contraception has worked?

It is unlikely that you will be pregnant, but if you do experience any of the following it is best to do a pregnancy test:

  • you  have any signs of pregnancy
  • you have not had a normal period within three weeks of taking Levonelle, EllaOne or having the emergency IUD inserted
  • you do not have a bleed when you have the seven-day break from using the combined pill, contraceptive patch or the contraceptive vaginal ring, or when you take the placebo tablets with EveryDay combined pills

A pregnancy test will be accurate if the test is done three weeks after the last time you had unprotected sex.


Am I protected from future pregnancy?

Levonelle and EllaOne will not protect you from pregnancy if you have unprotected sex again. Seek advice again.   

Emergency contraception is not as effective as using other methods of contraception regularly.