Emergency contraception

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There are no changes to how local residents access NHS frontline services in Hertfordshire and West Essex as part of these changes.

Emergency contraception

Emergency Hormonal Contraception Services in east and north Hertfordshire.

If you have had unprotected sex and you want emergency contraception, you can buy the morning after pill from any pharmacy (it costs around £20) and depending on your age you can also pick it up from certain pharmacies for free.

The following pharmacies in east and north Hertfordshire can now supply the morning after pill free of charge to girls and women who are at least 13 years of age and under 25 years of age. (There may be a very small number of occasions when a supply may not be considered safe or appropriate and you will always receive further advice in such cases.)

It is always important to call the pharmacy before you go to check that the qualified pharmacist is available to speak to you.

Bishop's Stortford












Welham Green


Welwyn Garden City


The morning after pill is a tablet containing progesterone. You will be given one pill to take and it should be taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sex. It is more effective the sooner you take it and if possible you should take it within 24 hours of having unprotected sex.

There are no serious side effects from taking the morning after pill but some women feel sick or dizzy or may get a headache after taking it. It can also disrupt your periods.

If you vomit within two hours of taking the pill, you may have to take another one or you could have an emergency coil fitted.

Your pharmacist can also also offer you advice on what to do if you have missed taking your contraceptive pill and provide you with information on safer sex, details of other family planning services and leaflets on sexual health.

These pharmacies also provide free condoms and a Chlamydia Screening Kit and will guide you to your local Chlamydia Screening Services.

Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection amongst young people and because it has no symptoms, most people who have it won’t know that they have it. If left untreated, Chlamydia can lead to nasty complications and could prevent you having children in the future. Getting tested is really easy, quick and discreet.

As well as getting emergency hormonal contraception from your pharmacist, you can also contact your local family planning clinic or your GP (doctor) as soon as possible. They can prescribe you the morning after pill or fit the copper IUD coil.

Method 2: The Copper IUD (coil)

This is a small plastic and copper device that is inserted into your womb by a trained doctor or nurse. It can be fitted up to 5 days after unprotected sex. It is the most effective method of emergency contraception and prevents 99% of pregnancies, but it is not as easily available as the morning after pill and some women who have problems with their womb or cervix may not be able to have a coil. You can read more about this form of contraception here.

Last modified: 

04 Jun 2021