What Is Emergency Hormone Contraception?

If you want to avoid an unintended pregnancy following unprotected sex or a condom splitting, you might wish to consider emergency contraception. The emergency contraceptive pill, also called the 'morning-after' pill, can be taken within 72 hours (3 days) of having unprotected sex, and is more effective the sooner it's taken.  Other forms of intrauterine emergency contraceptive can also be used up to 120 hours (5 days) after having unprotected sex.

You can get emergency contraception from GP's, THinK Sexual Health Clinics and a number of local pharmacies.  For an up to date of Sexual Health Clinics in Knowsley please visit the 'Our Clinics' page on the website. Click here to find your nearest local pharmacy offering emergency hormonal contraception.

The emergency contraceptive pill can prevent pregnancy if you've had unprotected sex, but should only be used in an emergency. It's not a replacement for regular contraception.  There are lots of methods of contraception to choose from, so don't be put off if the first thing you use isn't quite right for you; you can try another. You can find out more about each of the different methods of contraception by visiting the NHS Choices website.


How To Help Yourself & Others


protect yourself and your partner

To protect yourself and your partner from sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies then the best and most simple advice is to use condoms. This method of protection is considered a very reliable, safe and often free way to ensure that prevention is better than cure. However for the most reliable form of contraception then talk to a health professional about Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC) as there are a few options available and they will help you make the choice most suitable to you.

unprotected sex

If you have had unprotected sex and require Emergency Hormonal Contraception then go and get support as soon as possible. Even though EHC can work up to 5 days afterwards it’s always best to go sooner rather than later for it to be most successful. This is also a good time to get a sexual health check and further sexual health advice.

withdrawal method

Never use the withdrawal method as a form of contraception! In other words don’t be tempted to use the ‘pull out’ option (pulling the penis out of the vagina before ejaculation) as a way of contraception. It just doesn’t work and offers no protection what so ever of stopping a sexually transmitted infection or unwanted pregnancy.

reliable contraception

Get the most reliable form of regular contraception by visiting your local services and speaking to a professional about your options. Although EHC is available after you have had unprotected sex it is not advisable to use this as a consistent form of contraception. An effective regular contraceptive method is definitely the best course of action.

Get help

If you’re a young person and need help, information advice or support concerning Sexual Health & Emergency Hormonal Contraception then help is available from a number of local services, see Who Else Can Help section.

Who Else Can Help?

There are lots of local and national organisations who can offer support, advice & guidance if you need it.



There are 3 EHC options

Most people have heard of the ‘emergency or morning after pill’ but actually there are three types of EHC available. These include two types of pill as well as an emergency intrauterine device (IUD), or coil. EHC pills can be given up to five days after unprotected sex but are more successful the sooner you take them. The coil is a more effective form of emergency contraception. The important thing is to not delay and to make an appointment as soon as possible to decide what will work best for you.

Regular contraception is best

EHC maybe the reason you seek advice and support if you have had unprotected sex. However sexual health services can also start you on a regular contraceptive method at the same time to avoid and prevent any unwanted issues in the future.

The withdrawal method

The withdrawal method is not a form of contraception. During sexual penetration the penis releases semen before full ejaculation has occurred even if sex has not been fully completed. If you have had unprotected sex and have no form of contraception then a visit to your local sexual health clinic, walk in centre or pharmacy to discuss emergency hormonal contraception is advised.

How many times can EHC be used?

EHC can be used more than once if needed although this is not recommended. It’s much better to get the right kind of guidance and contraception method from a sexual health clinic by speaking to a health professional.

Where to get EHC

You can go to most pharmacies and walk in centres across Knowsley to receive emergency hormonal contraception but, if possible, it’s better to visit a sexual health clinic who can also talk to you in confidence about your sexual health needs. Information about sexual health clinics in Knowsley can be found in the help section.

Emergency Contraception Myths

Check out some of the most common Myths that we hear from young people - and what the actual TRUTH is...


The morning after pill only works the morning after!

This is widely believed, probably due to the name people use for it, but it is very untrue. EHC can work up to 5 days after sex but is more successful the sooner you receive it so don’t delay if you have had sex and have no form of regular effective contraception .

You can only get EHC from a sexual health clinic!

 Actually there are many chemists who are also able to provide Emergency Hormonal Contraception as well as Walk-in-Centres, local sexual health clinics, walk in centres, GP surgeries and Brook centres. There is a list of pharmacies where you can get EHC in our ways to help section.

EHC causes an abortion!

This is simply not true and does not cause abortion. EHC works by disrupting ovulation and therefore preventing pregnancy. To get all the facts speak to a sexual health professional.

The morning after pill is only for people who are not using regular contraception!

Even if you are using a regular form of contraception and for whatever reason this has failed you can still use both so don’t worry about using EHC so don’t delay and seek advice as soon as possible.

EHC will work for the rest of my cycle won't it?

No, if you took the EHC pill yesterday and had unprotected sex again today it will not protect you from unwanted pregnancies after the first course was taken. You may need to take a further course of EHC. The best thing to do is visit your local sexual health clinic, walk in centre, Brook centre or GP to get the right information you need.