Emergency contraception

Emergency contraception is commonly referred to as "The morning after pill" or "EHC." If you have had sex without using contraception, or think your contraception might have failed, you can use emergency contraception.

If you need emergency contraception, it is available from:

  • Most Pharmacies
  • GP Surgeries
  • Sexual Health Services

There are many local pharmacies and GPS who can provide Emergency Contraception, please see the locations of these in Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Portsmouth, and Southampton.

Due to Covid-19, some pharmacies may have different opening hours, or be closed entirely. Please check directly with the pharmacy for their opening times before attending.

There is no guarantee that a trained pharmacist will be available so we would encourage you to ring ahead to check if a trained pharmacist will be available.


Show me to the Pharmacist:

Please may I speak to the pharmacist in privacy as I need emergency contraception.

If the pharmacist is unable to assist please call Sexual Health services on 0300 300 2016.


How soon after sex can I take emergency contraception?

It is really important that you get emergency contraception as soon as possible following unprotected sex, i.e without any contraception - as it works best to stop pregnancy the sooner it is taken. There are three types of emergency contraception:

  • The emergency contraceptive pill. You can get this up to 72 hours (3 days) after having unprotected sex. It is available from most pharmacies, your GP and in sexual health clinics. Please ring the pharmacy before going as sometimes pharmacists may not be available.
  • EllaOne, a new emergency contraceptive pill taken five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex. You can get this from our sexual health clinics or your GP.
  • The coil (a small, flexible contraceptive device that is shaped like the letter T and is inserted into the womb). It can be inserted up to 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex but may also be used beyond that timescale in certain circumstances. This is available from our sexual health clinics. This is the most effective type of emergency contraception.

Did you know?

  • If you have had unprotected sex you could be at risk of getting an STI. We would advise taking one of our online tests.
  • Condoms can prevent catching STIs and unplanned pregnancy.
  • If it has been more than 120 hours since you had unprotected sex, you should contact one of our clinics to discuss your options.
  • Some pharmacies provide emergency contraception free of charge, but there is sometimes a cost.
  • Some methods can be used more than once within a month; however it is not a regular method of contraception so we will help find a contraceptive method which suits you.