County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust places cookies on your computer to improve our website. These cookies don't collect information that identifies a visitor and are all anonymous.� They are used to measure its performance and to provide enhancements to you while using the site. To find out more about the cookies we use, see our privacy policy. Close

Emergency Contraception

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 ( CaSH or GUM) or from a participating pharmacy. It is advisable to check that a trained pharmacist is on site prior to attending. 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 minute.

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 may be helpful if you also want to establish regular contraception.

Please click here to read more from the Family Planning Association.

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 can usually address your contraception and sexual health infection screen in a single appointment.

'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