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There has been a mechanical breakdown of the chlamydia and gonorrhoea testing platform. The machine has now been fixed and we are working through a backlog of results. You will still be contacted with your results although there will be a delay with some test results. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience caused.

Emergency Contraception

What is Emergency Contraception (Morning after Pill)

Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or if the contraception you have used has failed – for example, a condom has split or you have missed a pill.

There are 2 types of emergency contraception:

  • the emergency contraceptive pill – Levonelle or ellaOne (the "morning after" pill)
  • the intrauterine device (IUD or coil)

Emergency Contraceptive Pill (Morning after Pill)


Levonelle contains levonorgestrel, a synthetic (man-made) version of the natural hormone progesterone produced by the ovaries.

Taking it's thought to stop or delay the release of an egg (ovulation).

Levonelle has to be taken within 72 hours (3 days) of sex to prevent pregnancy. It doesn't interfere with your regular method of contraception.

ellaOne contains ulipristal acetate, which stops progesterone working normally. This also works by stopping or delaying the release of an egg.

ellaOne has to be taken within 120 hours (5 days) of sex to prevent pregnancy.

If you take Levonelle or ellaOne
Levonelle and ellaOne don't continue to protect you against pregnancy – if you have unprotected sex at any time after taking the emergency pill, you can become pregnant.

They aren't intended to be used as a regular form of contraception. But you can use emergency contraception more than once in a menstrual cycle if you need to.

Taking the emergency contraceptive pills Levonelle or ellaOne can give you a headache or tummy pain and make you feel or be sick.
The emergency contraceptive pill can make your next period earlier, later or more painful than usual.
If you're sick (vomit) within 2 hours of taking Levonelle or 3 hours of taking ellaOne, go to your GP, pharmacist or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinic, as you'll need to take another dose or have an IUD fitted.
There are no serious side effects of using emergency contraception.
Emergency contraception doesn't cause an abortion.

Emergency Copper Coil (IUD)

How the IUD works as emergency contraception

The intrauterine device (IUD) is a small, T-shaped plastic and copper device that's put into your womb (uterus) by a doctor or nurse.

It releases copper to stop the egg implanting in your womb or being fertilised.

The IUD can be inserted up to 5 days after unprotected sex, or up to 5 days after the earliest time you could have ovulated (released an egg), to prevent pregnancy.

You can also choose to have the IUD left in as an ongoing method of contraception.

How effective is the IUD at preventing pregnancy?

The emergency IUD is the most effective method of emergency contraception – less than 1% of women who use the IUD get pregnant.

It's more effective than the emergency pill at preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex.

Who can use the IUD?

Most women can use an IUD, including those who are HIV positive. A GP or nurse will ask about your medical history to check if an IUD is suitable for you.

The IUD might not be suitable if you have:

  • an untreated sexually transmitted infection (STI) or a pelvic infection
  • problems with your womb or cervix
  • unexplained bleeding between periods or after sex

The emergency IUD won't react with any other medicines you're taking.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

The IUD shouldn't be inserted if there's a risk that you may already be pregnant.

It's safe to use when you're breastfeeding and it won't affect your milk supply.

Side effects of the IUD

Complications after having an IUD fitted are rare, but can include:

  • pain
  • infection
  • damage to the womb
  • the IUD coming out of your womb
  • heavier, longer or more painful periods if you continue to use it as a regular method of contraception

How to Access

You can get the emergency coil and contraceptive pills from our service as well as the following places:

  • Free from GPs (you do not need to be registered with the GP you visit but it is best to ring first to confirm that they offer it).
  • GP out of Hours Service - call NHS 111 for advice.
  • Some North Yorkshire pharmacies are able to issue emergency hormonal contraception for free for those under 25. Please check with your pharmacy before attending.
  • Sexual Health Services
  • Online pharmacies may offer emergency contraception pills for those over the age of 18 for between £3 - £33.  This can be obtained in advance.

Positive Pregnancy Test


If you have done a pregnancy test and it is positive this means you are pregnant. All tests, including tests you do yourself, are very reliable.

It's normal to feel a range of different emotions when you find out you are pregnant. For some it can be very difficult working out what to do, but there is support available to help you think through all your options.

If you want to continue the pregnancy you need to arrange to see your GP who can refer you to the community midwife team for your ante-natal care. Your GP can also be a good person to talk through your options with if you are not sure what to do. Click here for health advice on what to do if you are pregnant. Baby Buddy 2.0: is a  free, NHS-approved, award-winning pregnancy and parenting app. download the new app:

If you are undecided or if you want to arrange a termination then you need to contact the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) or Marie Stopes. They will talk through all your options with you and they can arrange for you to see a counsellor if you are still unsure about what to do. If you are sure that you want a termination they will arrange an appointment for you. Please click here for the BPAS website and here for the Marie Stopes website. Termination is free for most people.

Abortion Termination or Ending Pregnancy


What is an abortion?

An abortion is a procedure to end a pregnancy.

It's also sometimes known as a termination of pregnancy.

The pregnancy is ended either by taking medicines or having a surgical procedure.

What happens during an abortion

Before having an abortion, you'll have an appointment to talk about your decision and what happens next.

Whenever possible, you should be given a choice of how you would like the abortion to be carried out.

There are 2 options:

  • Medical abortion ("abortion pill") – you take 2 medicines, usually 24 to 48 hours apart, to induce an abortion
  • Surgical abortion – you have a procedure to remove the pregnancy and normally go home soon afterwards

After an abortion, you'll probably need to take things easy for a few days. It's likely you'll have some discomfort and vaginal bleeding for up to 2 weeks.

Risks of an abortion

Abortion is a safe procedure. Abortions are safest, and happen with less pain and bleeding, when carried out as early as possible in pregnancy.

Most will not experience any problems, but there is a small risk of complications, such as:

  • infection of the womb (uterus)
  • some of the pregnancy remaining in the womb
  • excessive bleeding
  • damage to the womb or entrance of the womb (cervix)

If complications do occur, you may need further treatment, including surgery.

Having an abortion will not affect your chances of becoming pregnant again and having normal pregnancies in the future. You may be able to get pregnant immediately after an abortion so need to start contraception as soon as possible.

When can an abortion can be carried out?

Most abortions in England, Wales and Scotland are carried out before 24 weeks of pregnancy.

They can be carried out after 24 weeks in very limited circumstances – for example, if the mother's life is at risk or the child would be born with a severe disability.

Deciding to have an abortion

The decision to have an abortion is yours alone.

Some may be certain they want to have an abortion, while others may find it more difficult to make a decision.

Everyone requesting an abortion can discuss their options with, and receive support from, a trained pregnancy counsellor if they wish.

Where can I get more support and access counselling?

Abortion can bring up some difficult feelings, whether you’re deciding whether it’s the right option or you or you’ve had an abortion already. It’s okay to talk about your emotions around abortion and to need support. Abortion services offer counselling, where you can talk about your mental health in a non-judgemental and confidential environment.

How can I access an abortion?

Abortions can only be carried out under the care of an NHS hospital or a licensed clinic, and are usually available free of charge on the NHS.

There are two main abortion providers in the UK. Please follow these links for more information:

You can contact either of these providers to discuss your options around abortion.

After an abortion you will be offered ongoing contraception within the abortion service. In addition to this you can access contraception after an abortion at your GP or through our services - please see our contraception page for more information.

Further information:

Contact us

Call our booking line 01904 721111 to book an appointment 

If you are under 17 years old you can text or call 07973775692

For information about where our clinics are please follow this link YorSexualHealth - Clinic Information