What do you want to do?
The ‘morning after’ pill is a form of emergency contraception. It can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, or sex in which the primary method of birth control has failed.
Answer a few questions about your health, and our experts can recommend treatment options for you. Order the morning after pill online.
Always read the leaflet that comes with your medication and tell us about any side effects you get.
We know health, but you know you.
Our experts tell you what’s safe, but you decide what’s best.
Answer a few questions and tell us about yourself. Get tailored advice from our clinicians so you can choose better.
Choose your treatment and how often you have it delivered.
We know things change. It’s the nature of life. We’ll check in regularly to make sure your treatment is still right for you.
Pause. Change. Skip. Start again. Any time you like.
Here are some other things we can help with.
Personalised advice. Effective antibiotic treatments to restore balance. Get the help you need for BV.
Pill, patch, ring. We offer a range of birth control options so you can choose the one that's right for you.
Treatments to make your period lighter and more manageable. We'll help you to find the right option for you.
Manage your condition from home with expert advice and subscription treatment.
Tablets, patches, gels. We make finding the right HRT treatment easy.
Event planned? Period due? Take period delay pills a few days before to delay your bleeding.
Get tailored advice from our expert team, and choose from a range of treatments to reduce symptoms.
Clear your UTI the easy way with expert advice and effective treatment.
How effective is emergency contraception? - Your contraception guide. [online] Available at:
The morning after pill is a form of emergency contraception. Emergency contraception is birth control which should be used if your regular method of barrier protection hasn’t worked. This could be for a number of different reasons. For instance, you might have used a condom and notice it has ripped, or you might not have used any form of protection at all.
It can also be used if you regularly take the contraceptive pill, but have forgotten or missed a dose and then had unprotected sex afterwards.
The morning after pill works by stopping ovulation from happening, but only when you take it after having unprotected sex if your regular means of contraception hasn’t worked. It’s also suitable as a means of emergency contraception if you regularly take the contraceptive pill and have missed a dose and had unprotected sex on the same day.
It works to block the release of an egg (or ovum) so that fertilisation by sperm can’t take place. It also stops the lining of the uterine wall from building up and makes cervical fluid thicker, so that sperm can’t get through and reach its desired target (the egg).
The morning after pill must be taken within a specific time frame for it to be effective. The sooner you can take it after you know you’ve had unprotected sex, the better.
There are a few different types of emergency contraception and we’ll discuss the best option for you, based on your circumstances. For instance, the Levonelle pill and others containing Levonorgestrel can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, whilst ellaOne and others containing Ulipristalacetat can be taken up to five days afterwards.
There will always be a small chance you could still become pregnant, even if you’ve taken the morning after pill after unprotected sex, but the percentage risks are quite small. For ellaOne, it’s estimated that 1-2% of women who take it will become pregnant afterward, whilst for Levonelle the number is between 0.6% and 2.6%.
How we source info.
When we present you with stats, data, opinion or a consensus, we’ll tell you where this came from. And we’ll only present data as clinically reliable if it’s come from a reputable source, such as a state or government-funded health body, a peer-reviewed medical journal, or a recognised analytics or data body. Read more in our editorial policy.
Usually, you’ll take a morning after pill with a glass of water. As with most medications, each morning after pill has its own specific instructions on how it should be taken. The one you’ll take will be determined by your medical history, any health conditions you currently have and treatments you take for them.
You can find all the information you’ll need to know on our product pages. Always make sure you follow the advice which is on the patient information leaflet in your tablet box and chat to your prescriber if you have any questions or need additional information on it.
Sometimes, the morning after pill can make you feel a bit nauseous and tired. These side effects should pass quickly. It’s important to know that if you are sick within two hours of taking it, then it’s possible that the tablet won’t have absorbed it fully. If that happens, chat to our clinician about your symptoms as you may need a second dose.
You should take the morning after pill if you’ve had unprotected sex, or if you’ve had sex and your usual method of contraception (such as a condom) has failed and you don’t want to become pregnant.
It should be taken within 72 hours, ideally, though ellaOne, among other pills containing ulipristal acetate, can be taken up to 120 hours after having unprotected sex, and it’s 98% effective.
If you’re already pregnant then the morning after pill will not be effective, or suitable to take. In these circumstances, you should speak to your clinician or go to your local GUM clinic to seek help and get advice on what to do next.
A morning after pill, if taken straight away and with the appropriate medical advice, should be effective in preventing pregnancy immediately.
If you’re unwell after taking it, for instance, if you’re sick or have an upset stomach, it’s worth checking in with your prescriber to seek advice on what to do next as you might need to take a second dose if it hasn’t been fully absorbed.
If you’re still concerned you might be pregnant after taking the morning after pill, the best course of action is to wait until your next period is due and then take a pregnancy test.
If you have an irregular menstrual cycle, then wait 21 days after having unprotected sex before taking a pregnancy test.
It’s worth noting that sometimes the morning after pill can delay the onset of a period, too. Occasionally, stress and worry can make things feel worse, and you’re not alone in feeling that way. It’s a perfectly normal and understandable reaction to have. If you have any questions or queries, have a chat with our clinician and they’ll be able to help you.
Emergency Contraception Review. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology, 57(4), pp.741–750.
There are two different types of morning after pill that can be chosen. Each of these contains a different active ingredient.
In ellaOne, the main active ingredient is Ulipristal Acetate. EllaOne can be taken up to 5 days after unprotected sex. Levonelle and Upostelle contain the active ingredient Levonorgestrel. These two morning after pills can be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex.
Which morning after pill you’ll need depends on which is right for your needs. Whilst they can all be taken up to 72 hours after unprotected sex, only ellaOne can be taken up to five days afterward.
The most important effect of the morning after pill is that it delays or even prevents ovulation. This makes it impossible for the sperm to fertilise the egg. If an egg has already been fertilised, the morning after pill can probably not prevent it from implanting itself in the wall of the uterus, so it may not be effective at preventing pregnancy.
If you’re not sure which is the right morning after pill for you, have a chat with one of our clinicians about which one is best for you. They’ll need to know a bit about any health conditions you have and any current medications you’re taking. After that, they’ll be able to offer you a range of options and you can make the decision together.
You don’t need a prescription for the morning after pill. The only circumstances in which you’d need one are if you’re under 16 years of age or if you’re not opting to take ellaOne as your chosen emergency contraception method.
Our clinical team can answer any questions you have about taking the morning after pill. Just log in to your account and send them a message.
NHS Choices (2019). Your contraception guide. NHS
What services do sexual health clinics (GUM clinics) provide?
Have something specific you want to know? Search our info below, or ask our experts a question if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
If you made a mistake on the gender selection, you can amend this by pressing 'Cancel' below and changing your gender. If you entered the correct gender but made a mistake on the treatment category selection, you can choose a different category by pressing 'Choose other treatment' below.
Submit your question here, or tell us if you’ve found an issue on our site.
We’ll get back to you very soon. We aim to respond to all queries in one working day.
You’re signed up to our newsletter. Keep an eye on your inbox for our latest update.
You can continue as a guest, or sign in with your Treated account if you have one.