Welcome to our new website
Some areas of this site, including Our Services, are still under development.
Your feedback will help us to improve this site.
Information for patients
If you have had unprotected sex, or if your usual contraception may have failed (e.g. a condom split or you forgot to take your pills), you can use emergency contraception. There are three types of emergency contraception:
This emergency contraceptive pill is a tablet containing progestogen hormone, which is similar to the natural progesterone women produce in their ovaries.
You will be given one dose to take. It should be taken within 3 days (72 hours) of having unprotected sex.
This emergency contraceptive pill is a single tablet containing ulipristal acetate, a progestogen blocker.
You will be given one tablet to take. It should be taken within 5 days of unprotected sex.
The emergency pill aims to delay an egg being released (ovulation). Therefore, it is unlikely to work if you are at a point in your cycle where you have already ovulated.
Your next period may come early or a few days late. If your period is more than 7 days late, you should do a pregnancy test. You can call the clinic for advice.
The emergency pill can fail even if it has been taken correctly. It is more likely to work if taken as soon as possible after sex. The copper coil is ten-times more effective than the emergency pill at preventing pregnancy.
There are no serious long or short-term side effects from using the emergency pill. Some women may feel sick, dizzy or tired, or may get headaches, breast tenderness or abdominal pain.
A very small number of women vomit - If you are sick within 3 hours of taking the pill, it might not work, so please come backto clinic (or see your GP or pharmacist) as soon as possible to get another tablet.
No, you must use effective contraception (e.g. condoms). If you have further unprotected sex, you can have a repeat emergency pill.
Not usually, but do go and see a nurse or doctor if:
The emergency pill has not been shown to affect a pregnancy or harm a developing baby. As with any pregnancy, there is a small chance that an ectopic pregnancy may occur. If you think you may be pregnant it is important to seek advice as soon as possible.
Emergency pills can be taken more than once in any menstrual cycle. However, this is not as effective as using other methods of contraception regularly.
The emergency pill is available from the following places:
An IUD is a small plastic and copper device that is put into your womb. It can be fitted up to 5 days after unprotected sex at any time during the menstrual cycle provided that this is the only unprotected sex that has occurred since your last period. If you have had unprotected sex more than once since your last period, then an IUD can be fitted up to 5 days after the earliest time you could have released an egg (ovulation). You can have an emergency coil even if you have taken the emergency pill.
This is the most effective form of emergency contraception with a failure rate of less than 1%. It is 10 times more effective than the emergency pill. Unlike the emergency pill, it will work even if you have ovulated.
Yes, as soon as it has been fitted, you will be protected against pregnancy until the IUD is taken out.
The doctor or nurse will examine you internally to check the position and size of your womb before they put in an IUD. The fitting of the IUD takes approximately 10-15 minutes. The procedure can be uncomfortable or painful for some women, therefore you may want to take a paracetamol beforehand. You may experience a period type pain and some light bleeding for a few days after the IUD has been fitted.
The emergency IUD is highly effective (far more than the emergency pill). However, if it does fail and you become pregnant, there is a risk that the IUD can cause miscarriage or that an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy in the tube) may occur. If you think that you are pregnant it is important that you seek advice as soon as possible.
No, but you should do a pregnancy test 3 weeks later to make sure it has worked. You should return at any time if you want to:
If you do not want to keep the IUD as your regular method of contraception, it can be removed when you next have a period.
No, emergency contraception only protects you from pregnancy. If you want to avoid STls including chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and HIV, you must use condoms.
Please make an appointment for one of our clinics.