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Emergency Contraception

Emergency contraception means contraception used soon after unprotected sex or if you think your regular method has let you down. This can be a PILL (Levonelle or EllaOne), or it can involve fitting an INTRA-UTERINE DEVICE (IUD) – see below.  Neither of these methods causes abortion – they help prevent pregnancy.


Levonelle is a hormonal pill you can take up to three days after unprotected sex.  However, it works better the sooner you take it.  It delays or stops the egg being released by the ovary.  It can reduce your risk of getting pregnant, has few or no side-effects and is safe to take.  You can get Levonelle free from The Wolverton Centre and from all sexual health clinics and from some pharmacists (free from pharmacists if you are aged 24 or under).  Alternatively, you can visit your GP.

EllaOne is an emergency contraceptive pill which can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex.  You can get this from The Wolverton Centre or on prescription from your GP.  This pill is not available from pharmacies at the moment and may not suit everyone so it will be discussed with you carefully.

Follow up after taking Levonelle or EllaOne is not normally necessary, unless:

  • You think you might be pregnant
  • Your next period is more than 7 days late
  • Your period is shorter or lighter than normal
  • You have sudden or unusual pain in your lower abdomen
  • You wish to discuss any other sexual health concerns, eg, STI (sexually transmitted infections) exposure and/or regular contraception

An  INTRA-UTERINE DEVICE(IUD) is a small plastic and copper device which is fitted in your uterus and can be used for emergency contraception up to five days after unprotected sex.  You may choose this because it is more effective than Levonelle and EllaOne at preventing pregnancy, or if you are beyond the three day limit for Levonelle.  Or you may choose an IUD because you would like to use it as long term, very reliable contraception.  The doctor or nurse will discuss this method with you.  You may get it fitted right away or possibly be asked to come back to get it fitted later.

All these forms of emergency contraception are available free from The Wolverton Centre (see opening times).  If you require emergency contraception you should attend the clinic at the earliest opportunity.  

If the clinic is closed you can

  • visit your GP
  • visit your local pharmacist (emergency contraception is FREE if you are aged 24 or under).  

No emergency contraception protects against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).  You may want to discuss STI testing as part of your visit.