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Emergency Contraception

Watch this video from Sexwise (external link) on emergency contraception:

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Find your nearest emergency contraception provider

In Haringey, women of any age (under or over 25) can access emergency contraception from various places.

Emergency Hormonal Contraception - from:

Emergency Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) - from:

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What is emergency contraception?

  • Emergency contraception can be used to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if you think your contraception has not worked
  • Emergency Hormonal Contraception (the ‘morning after pill’) can be taken within 72 to 120 hours (three to five days) of unprotected sex. It is most effective within the first 24 hours
  • An IUD (intrauterine device) aka ‘coil’ can also be used as emergency contraception, and can be fitted up to five days after unprotected sex

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Types of Emergency Contraception

Emergency Hormonal Contraception (EHC)

There are two types of EHC, ellaOne and Levonelle. In Haringey, you can access Levonelle for free. ellaOne can be bought from pharmacies.

  • When: ellaOne works up to five days and Levonelle works up to three days after sex
  • What is it? A tablet containing synthetic progesterone (Levonelle) or a tablet containing a medicine which interferes with natural progesterone signals (ellaOne)
  • Advantage: Easy to take, available from a wide variety of locations, free from doctors and many nurses
  • Disadvantage: Acts as emergency contraception but does not provide longer lasting protection
  • Will it work? Levonorgestrel reduces pregnancy risk to 10/1000, ellaOne reduces risk to 5/1000 - this means that if 1,000 people had unprotected sex and then took ellaOne, five people would become pregnant

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

  • When: Works up to five days after unprotected sex
  • What is it? A small plastic device put into the uterus, contains copper
  • Lasts for: 5-10 years
  • Advantage: Effective up to 5 days after unprotected sex as emergency contraception and then can be used as long term contraception for 5-10 years. If you don't get on with it, it can be taken out sooner
  • Disadvantage: Periods may be heavier, longer or more painful. Needs to be fitted by a specially trained doctor or nurse
  • Will it work? An emergency IUD reduces pregnancy risk of less than 1%

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Back to: Pregnancy and Contraception Services.

Page last updated:

19 January 2021