Working in a busy sexual health clinic, there are often common questions or worries that we hear regularly when it comes to emergency contraception. Perhaps someone has missed a pill, has had a condom split, perhaps not got round to starting contraception after pregnancy or worried that they have been at risk of an unplanned pregnancy. Whatever the situation, we are here to help.

There are two types of emergency contraceptive pills named ‘Levonelle’ & ‘ellaOne’.

Levonelle works primarily by preventing or delaying ovulation.  It is licensed to use for up to 72 hours after unprotected sex.

ellaOne  stops progesterone working normally. It prevents pregnancy mainly by preventing or delaying ovulation.  This option has been demonstrated to be effective up to 120 hours after the risk.

There is also the option of having the emergency intrauterine device (IUD) fitted.  The copper-bearing IUD prevents fertilisation by causing a chemical change in sperm and egg before they can meet. It is the most effective method of emergency contraception

You don’t need to use emergency contraception for the first 21 days after giving birth.

Women are encouraged to discuss their individual circumstances and medical history with specialist trained doctors, nurses or pharmacists to find the right choice for them.

Also remember if there has been unprotected sex we can also advise on window periods for routine STI screening as well as provide regular contraception services.