A small plastic and copper device that's fitted in your uterus (womb) up to five days (120 hours) after unprotected sex or within 5 days of the earliest time you could have released an egg.

Your appointment will last around 30 - 45 minutes. Inserting the IUD usually takes around five - ten minutes. It can be uncomfortable for some people.

The IUD is the most effective method of emergency contraception. If it can’t be fitted immediately you may be advised to take an emergency contraceptive pill.

Most women can use an emergency IUD, including young people and people who’ve never been pregnant.

It’s not recommended before 28 days after giving birth. If you need to, you can use an emergency pill from 21 days after giving birth.

You can use an emergency IUD from day five after a miscarriage or abortion as long as there were no complications. If you had complications ask a doctor or nurse for advice.

Some people may get a period-type pain and bleeding for a few days after the fitting. Pain relief can help.

There’s a very small chance of getting an infection during the first three months after it’s fitted. If you already have an infection you may be given antibiotics.

It’s not common but the IUD can be pushed out or it can move.

There’s a very small risk that it might perforate (go through) your uterus (womb) when fitted.

Your next period should come at about the same time you’d normally expect it. It might be heavier than usual.

If you don’t have a period within about a week of the expected time then you must do a pregnancy test.

You don’t need to see a doctor or nurse routinely after you have had an emergency IUD fitted providing you have no problems or questions.

You will need to do a home pregnancy test three weeks after the latest episode of unprotected sex.

About one in 1,000 women will become pregnant after having an emergency IUD fitted.

If this pregnancy test is positive you should see a doctor or nurse as soon as possible.

This is because there is a small risk of any pregnancy with an IUD being an ectopic pregnancy. This can become a medical emergency and you will need to have an ultrasound scan to exclude this type of pregnancy.

If you are pregnant with an IUD in place it is recommended that the IUD is removed promptly if possible irrespective of whether you plan to continue with the pregnancy or have an abortion.

The emergency IUD can also be removed during your next period. If removed at any other time you’ll need to avoid sex or use additional contraception, such as condoms, for seven days before it’s taken out.

You can keep the IUD as your regular method of contraception if you want to. 

If you want to go back to using your usual contraception, speak to a doctor or nurse about having the IUD removed.