Health and wellbeing Sexual health

Emergency contraception

You can use emergency contraception if you’ve had sex without using contraception, or if your method of contraception has failed, in the last 5 days (120 hours). Emergency contraception can reduce the chance of becoming pregnant, but you must act fast!

There are 2 types of emergency contraception:

  • the emergency contraceptive pill – Levonelle or ellaOne (the "morning after" pill)
  • the intrauterine device (IUD or coil)

You need to take the emergency contraceptive pill within 3 days (Levonelle) or 5 days (ellaOne) of unprotected sex for it to be effective – the sooner you take it, the more effective it'll be.

An IUD can be fitted up to 5 days after unprotected sex, or up to 5 days after the earliest time you could have ovulated, for it to be effective.

The most effective form of emergency contraception is the intrauterine device. Contact The Northern Sexual Health, Contraception and HIV service on 0161 701 1555 if you want to get an IUD fitted. You do not need to follow the online booking option for emergency contraception.

Young women can get emergency hormonal contraception, free of charge, from:

Women of all ages, including young women, can get emergency hormonal contraception, free of charge, from:

For more information about emergency contraception visit the Sexwise website.  

Anything else I need to know?

If you've had unprotected sex or the condom failed it is really important to also consider your risk for sexually transmitted infections and to think about your long-term contraception needs. The services above can help with advice about STIs.


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