Emergency contraception

Treatment in 3 easy steps

If you need emergency contraception, it's possible to get it from your pharmacy. This may be a free or paid service depending on location and will involve a consultation with your pharmacist.

Choose an appointment

Use our easy calendar to book an appointment.


Visit your local pharmacist for a consultation.


Take treatment as instructed by the pharmacist.

What to do if you need emergency contraception

If you’ve had unprotected sex in the last three to five days, your pharmacist may be able to provide you with emergency contraception, also known as ‘the morning after pill’. You can also have the intrauterine device (IUD), also known as the copper coil, fitted up to five days after sex by your GP, in walk-in centres and family planning clinics.

The sooner you use emergency contraception, the more effective it is likely to be. Emergency pills are free from many pharmacies and can be paid for at most. Not all types of emergency contraceptive pill may be available from all pharmacies.

Have a consultation

Receive medication

Take the emergency contraception as instructed as early as possible

Use condoms until you start regular contraception

Use regular contraception to prevent unplanned pregnancy

Speak to a pharmacist about emergency contraception

"Taking emergency contraception is a safe and effective way of preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex. Your pharmacist can help you to decide if the emergency contraceptive pill or an IUD might be more suitable. Both types of pill work most effectively when taken as soon as possible after unprotected sex or failed contraception."

Dr Sarah Jarvis MBE

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