Many people have sex without using contraception. Sometimes
we can forget to use contraception properly or occasionally it can
fail for other reasons. If you have had sex without using effective
contraception and you are not trying for a baby, it may not be too
late to prevent a pregnancy.
Emergency Hormonal Contraception pills (sometimes called 'the
morning after pill') must be taken within 72 hours (3 days) of
having sex. These pills are most effective if taken within 12
hours. You can get these pills for free from any of our clinics or
from a participating pharmacy. It is advisable to check
that a trained pharmacist is on site prior to attending.
Some pharmacies across County Durham and Darlington may have
amended their opening hours due to COVID-19. Please check with
individual pharmacies for details. Click below to see participating
pharmacies in your area:
Remember our clinics may be closed on public holidays and at
weekends so it is important not to leave things until the last
If more than 72 hours (3 days) have passed you may have other
options. We can offer certain patients an emergency contraceptive
pill which can be taken up to 5 days (120 hours) after sex.
In some situations we may offer to fit an Intrauterine Device as emergency contraception
which is helpful if you also want to establish regular
click here to read more from the Family Planning
If you've had sex without using condoms you're also at risk of
sexually transmitted infections. We would recommend coming to
see us for a check-up - we may be able to address your
contraception and sexual health infection screen in a single
'Every aspect of my emergency care was dealt with quickly,
efficiently and professionally with full explanations and
compassion from all staff involved'.
Patient, Emergency Department, Darlington Memorial Hospital