Skip to topmenuSkip to main navigationSkip to main content

Morning after pill


Do you want to prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex? Then do something quickly! You have 2 options: taking the morning after pill or having an emergency coil inserted in your uterus. 

What is the morning after pill?

The morning after pill is a way to delay ovulation. When you’ve taken this pill, sperm cells don’t come into contact with an egg. So no egg can be fertilised. 

Important to know

A morning after pill doesn’t always prevent pregnancy. If an egg had already been released, the morning after pill won’t work anymore. Then the egg may be fertilised by a sperm cell. 

When is the morning after pill still effective?

There is the least risk of you becoming pregnant if you take the morning after pill within 12 hours after having sex. You can take it a bit later too, but the quicker the better. 

There are 2 different morning after pills: Norlevo and ellaOne. Norlevo works for up to 3 days, or 72 hours, after unprotected sex. An ellaOne pill works for up to 5 days, or 120 hours. 

The morning after pill is also called emergency contraception, because it is a ‘problem solver’, not a contraceptive! 

Where can you get the morning after pill?

You can buy the morning after pill at a pharmacy or chemist. You don’t need a prescription from your doctor. Norlevo costs around €15. An ellaOne pill costs around €20. You and your partner could share the expense. Here are addresses of pharmacies and chemists in the Netherlands that sell the morning after pill.

In the evening or on Sunday?

Do you need a morning after pill in the evening or on Sunday? Look on the website, or the door, of your pharmacy to find one that is open in your neighbourhood. Some chemists at large train stations are open in the evening or on Sunday. You can also buy a morning after pill online. But then you won’t have it until the next day at the earliest.

Make sure you’ve always got a morning after pill at home. Then you’re prepared if something goes wrong with your contraception. But keep an eye on the expiry date.

Are you taking any medicines?

Do you take drugs to treat HIV, epilepsy or tuberculosis? Or any herbal remedies containing St John’s Wort? If you’ve taken any of these in the last 4 weeks, the morning after pill will be less effective. Then it’s safer to have an emergency coil fitted. This reduces the risk of an unplanned pregnancy.

If you are allergic to anything in the morning after pill, you shouldn’t take it. Read more about this in the instruction leaflet. That also contains information about how certain medicines may reduce the effectiveness of the morning after pill. 

Do you have a liver or intestinal condition? Or do you take antacids? Then ask your doctor which type of emergency contraception is best for you.  

What is the emergency coil?

An emergency coil is a copper IUD that’s inserted in your uterus and prevents pregnancy. You can have an emergency coil fitted up to 5 days after having unprotected sex. The coil is even more effective than the morning after pill in preventing pregnancy. And it can be left in place for at least 5 years, so you’re protected for a long time. 

A copper IUD stops an egg being fertilised. If an egg is still fertilised, then the IUD makes sure it cannot become implanted in the mucous membrane of the uterus.

You can have an emergency coil fitted by your own doctor or at a Sense clinic. If you’re under the age of 21, this is covered by your health insurance.

Too late for the morning after pill?

Was the unprotected sex more than 5 days ago?
Then it’s too late for the morning after pill or emergency coil. You’ll have to wait and see if you are pregnant. Read about how to find out whether you’re pregnant.

  • Are you not pregnant? That’s a relief! Use a reliable contraceptive from now on so you won’t have to worry. Does something often go wrong with your contraception? Then maybe a difference kind of contraceptive would suit you both better. More about contraception
  • Are you pregnant? Then you have to make a choice: keep the baby, have the baby adopted or have an abortion.
    Read about how to decide what to do if your pregnancy was unplanned.

Risk of STIs too?

If you need the morning after pill, you didn’t use a condom. Or something went wrong with the condom. So you may have been infected with an STI. Have an STI test done at a Sense clinic.

Are you not in a relationship? 

If you don’t want to end up with an STI or a child after a one-night stand, make sure you always have condoms with you for unexpected sex. Whether you’re male or female!