Emergency contraception

Last updated:

Reviewed by:

Dr Roshaan Saloojee

, Livi GP

Medically reviewed

If you’ve had unprotected sex you can use emergency contraception – the morning after pill or the copper coil – to avoid getting pregnant.

The emergency contraceptive pill (or morning after pill)

The emergency contraceptive pill can be a good option if you‘ve missed a birth control pill or have had unprotected sex. There are different morning after pills, which are available without a prescription from a pharmacy:

  • Pills you need to take within 3 days (72 hours) of unprotected sex

  • Pills you need to take within 5 days (120 hours) of unprotected sex

The sooner you take the pill, the more effective it’s likely to be. Morning after pills prevents egg release and fertilisation, so it’s different from having an abortion. Taking it might make your period come earlier, later, or make it more painful than usual. The morning after pill is an emergency solution you should avoid using regularly.

The copper coil

The copper coil can also be used as emergency contraception. The coil can be inserted into your uterus by doctor or nurse within 5 days of unprotected sex. The coil stops the egg from implanting in your uterus or getting fertilised.

How Livi can help

You can see a GP by video if you need:

  • Advice about emergency contraception

  • Advice on switching to a different contraceptive method

  • To renew your contraceptive pill prescription

It’s important to know

The combined birth control pill slightly increases the risk of blood clots, so some women may wish to choose a different contraception method. If you’re starting birth control pills, it’s important to understand the information about side effects and risk factors.

Last updated:
Reviewed by:
Dr Roshaan Saloojee, Livi GP

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