Where can I get the morning after pill?
Most people know that you can get the morning after pill from your GP, or you can buy it from your nearest pharmacy, but there are several more discreet and convenient places to get emergency contraception.
In this article we’ll look at where to get the morning after pill and emergency coil, on the NHS, privately and online.
Types of emergency contraception
There are three main types of emergency contraception available in the UK:
Morning after pill
Levonogestrel (generic Levonelle) is a tablet and it should be taken within three days (72 hours) of having unprotected sex, but try and take it as soon as possible.
ellaOne can be taken up to five days after unprotected sex and is thought to be more effective than Levonorgestrel if taken after the initial 24 hours have passed.
Emergency copper coil
The copper coil (IUD) effective up to 5 days after sex and acts as a persistent contraceptive. However, it must be fitted by a trained medical professional.
The emergency IUD is the most effective emergency contraception.
How to get the morning after pill
There are lots of different ways you can get emergency contraception. Lots of people will visit their GP or local sexual health clinic, but you can also get it from some high street pharmacies, as well as online healthcare services.
Can you get the morning after pill online?
Yes there are a variety of services that offer the morning after pill online. Some of these are free, and some are private services like LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor.
Simply complete a short consultation online and a clinician will review your information. If medically suitable, your order will be approved. You can choose next-day home delivery, local ParcelShop collection or collect from your nearest participating pharmacy.
This is a good option for women who need the morning after pill quickly and conveniently. It's also convenient for women who don't want to talk to a doctor or pharmacist face to face.
Can you get the morning after pill over the counter?
If you want to get hold of the morning after pill quickly, you can go into most high street pharmacies and buy it over the counter. They typically offer both Levonorgestrel (sometimes known as Levonelle) and ellaOne.
Where else to get the morning after pill
You will be required to talk to a pharmacist about your health before receiving your emergency contraception.
You cannot get the emergency IUD fitted at a high street pharmacy, but the pharmacist will have advice about where you could go for that service.
Getting a prescription for the morning after pill through your GP also makes it free on the NHS. Typically, you can get both types of morning after pill (Levonorgestrel and ellaOne) from GP surgeries, and sometimes an emergency copper coil.
The obvious downside with getting the morning after pill from a GP is that it can be hard to get a last-minute appointment. Equally, some women prefer not to go to their family doctor for such discreet matters.
Family planning and sexual health clinics
These are clinics that cater specifically to contraception and sexual health issues. You will always be able to access emergency contraception from these clinics for free.
These types of clinic are the best place to go if you want to be fitted with the emergency IUD.
The main benefit to using these clinics is that you do not require an appointment and can simply walk in - although you may have to wait to be seen. On the downside, you may have to travel further from your home, and you will still need to speak with someone face to face.
Brook centres and other young person’s services
Brook centres cater to women under 25, and will always provide emergency contraception for free. As with sexual health clinics, you can simply walk into a Brook centre - although in some cases you can also make an appointment in advance.
NHS walk-in centres & minor injuries units
In England, you can get emergency contraception at some walk-in clinics and minor injuries units. But, because it requires someone who is specifically trained in fitting the device, it might not be a widely available service.
How to ask for the morning after pill
Some people might be a bit worried about asking for the morning after pill, but usually it’s a very simple process, and there’s nothing to be concerned about.
How you ask for it, depends on where you get it – you might need to book an appointment, ask a pharmacist in a shop or simply request it online.
Do you have to answer questions to get the morning after pill?
Yes, to get the morning after pill, or the emergency coil, you’ll have to answer a couple of questions, just to make sure you need it and it’s clinically suitable. Think of these questions like the ones your GP might ask if you’ve booked an appointment for any other reason.