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Contraception and emergency contraception

Contraceptive methods allow you to choose when and whether you want to have a baby. However, they don't all protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

How can I get contraception?

Contraceptive services are free and confidential, including to people under 16, as long as they are mature enough to understand the information and decisions involved. You can get contraception free from:

Which type of contraception is for me?

Condoms will help to protect against both STIs and pregnancy, so whatever other method of contraception you're using to prevent pregnancy, use condoms as well to protect you and your partner's health.

There are lots of methods of contraception to choose from, so don't be put off if the first thing you use isn't quite right for you; you can try another.

Find out more about each of the different methods of contraception

Free condoms

You can get free condoms from Brook centres and NHS sexual health clinics, even if you're under 16.

You can also buy condoms from pharmacies and supermarkets. Remember, only use condoms with the CE mark. This means that they've been tested to high European safety standards. Condoms without the CE mark aren't safe, so don't use them.

Emergency contraception

When would I consider using emergency contraception?

If you want to avoid an unintended pregnancy following unprotected sex or a condom splitting.

The emergency contraceptive pill, also called the 'morning-after' pill, must be taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sex – and is more effective the sooner it's taken.

The emergency contraceptive pill can prevent pregnancy if you've had unprotected sex, but should only be used in an emergency. It's not a replacement for regular contraception.

Where can I get emergency contraception?

You can get free emergency contraception from GPs, Brook and Wirral's Contraception and Sexual Health Clinics.

A number of local pharmacies now offer free emergency contraception to people over 16 years old.

If you need emergency contraception outside clinic or pharmacy opening times please contact:

All-day health centre at Arrowe Park Hospital - (0151) 488 3706 from 8am to 9:45pm

Walk-In Centre at Victoria Central Health Centre, Wallasey - (0151) 514 6464 from 8am to 9:45 pm weekdays and 9 am to 9:45 pm on weekends and bank holidays.

If you need to speak to someone, queries/enquiries can also be made to Wirral Sexual Health Services' office on 0151 514 6464.

There are lots of methods of contraception to choose from, so don't be put off if the first thing you use isn't quite right for you; you can try another. You can find out more about each of the different methods of contraception at the NHS Choices website.