Emergency Coil, Emergency Contraception Information

What is it?

  • A small, soft, flexible, plastic T shaped device that fits inside the womb.
  • It is easily inserted by a trained health care professional.

How does it work?

  • Prevents sperm surviving in the womb and fallopian tubes and stops fertilisation of an egg.
  • Prevents implantation of a fertilised egg in the womb lining.

What’s great about it?

  • Is safe and extremely effective (99%) in preventing pregnancy after unprotected sex.
  • It can be kept in place as an ongoing form of contraception for 5-10 years .
  • Otherwise it's easily removed when you get your next period.
  • Does not cause abortion.
  • Doesn’t contain hormones.
  • Fertility returns after it is removed.
  • Can be used by women who have never had a baby.

What’s not so great about it?

  • No protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) - condoms advised.
  • If the coil can't be fitted immediately you may need to take the emergency pill as well.
  • Insertion can be slightly uncomfortable but local anaesthetic reduces this.
  • Can become displaced or fall out (expulsion) but this is uncommon (5 in 100).
  • There is a small risk of pelvic infection for up to 3 weeks after insertion. Your risk of an infection will be discussed and you may be offered testing and antibiotics.
  • Very small risk of perforating the womb or cervix (1 in 500).

Where can I get it?

  • Family planning clinics, sexual health clinics and a few GP surgeries.

Additional Links

SH.UK offers a range of free sexual health service such as STI testing, treatment and contraception across the UK. Simply register then complete an online consultation to order your free STI test kit.

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