Check what you need to know about contraception and pregnancy, and see the support available.
Contraception is free to most people in the UK. There are lots of different contraceptive options available, and different ones will suit different people.
Important: If you’ve had unprotected sex within the last 120 hours (five days) and you want to avoid pregnancy, you can get emergency contraception.
Free sexual health products on campus
You can access free condoms and sexual health resources on campus through the X-scheme. Visit the Student Centre Welcome desk (every day in term time) or Students’ Union reception in Falmer House (during term time) between 9am and 8pm (Monday to Friday) and 10pm and 6pm (Saturday and Sunday).
You can also access confidential X-scheme drop-in sessions in the Northfield reception area from 3.30pm-4.30pm each Wednesday during term time.
Using the X-scheme, you can get condoms, lubricant, chlamydia and gonorrhoea self-testing kits and pregnancy tests.
You just need to ask reception staff for access to supplies, or show the X symbol (by screen-shotting the image on the right or saving the image to your phone – tap and hold the image then select save or download) at any pick-up point so you don't have to ask directly.
Accessing contraception in the local area
Brighton & Hove and East Sussex have excellent Sexual Health and Contraception (SHAC) services where you can speak to trained professionals about what contraception might suit you best, and get prescriptions/fittings for contraception:
You can also speak to your GP or a pharmacist about contraception.
There is also an NHS scheme, called C-Card, across East and West Sussex where people aged under 25 get free condoms and lubricant from many different pick-up points.
Find out about the C-Card scheme from:
When you visit a provider, you’ll be given six condoms and a lubricant for free – no questions asked.
You can collect a condom pack every seven days, but you can ask for more if you need them.
All C-Card sites also offer free home chlamydia and gonorrhoea test kits and most C-Card pharmacies also provide free emergency contraception (sometimes called ‘morning after pill’) to under 25s.
Emergency contraception can be taken after unprotected sex (this might be because the condom split, you missed your pill, or didn’t use any contraception) and can prevent pregnancy.
It is sometimes called the ‘morning after pill’ but can be taken up to 72 hours (three days) or 120 hours (five days) after unprotected sex, depending on the method used.
The sooner emergency contraception is taken after unprotected sex, the more likely it is to be effective at preventing pregnancy.
Where to access emergency contraception
- within 72-hours (three days) of unprotected sex you can use Levonelle (pill). It is available from your GP, pharmacies (sometimes there is a charge), SHAC services and A&E.
- within 120–hours (five days) of unprotected sex you can use ellaOne (pill) or an emergency IUD (coil); available from SHAC services and A&E.
Important: the University campus pharmacy (near the Student Centre) offers free emergency contraception for people under 25. Find advice on accessing emergency contraception and see which pharmacies offer free emergency contraception to under 25s in Brighton & Hove.
If you think that you might be pregnant:
- take a pregnancy test – free pregnancy tests are available from the Student Centre. Ask to access free sexual health products at the Welcome desk using the X-scheme. Pregnancy tests are also available to buy on campus in the campus pharmacy (next to the Student Centre)
- if the test gives a positive result then you can get the result confirmed by Brighton & Hove SHAC services – they offer free pregnancy testing and advice.
If you are pregnant, you can get more information from brightonsexualhealth.com (pregnancy testing, advice and referrals).
If you’re unsure what you want to do about your pregnancy, you don’t need to make this decision alone.
It may help to:
- take time to talk things through with a friend or family member
- talk to a Student Advisor or a counsellor in confidence
- talk to a counsellor at your nearest British Pregnancy Advisory Service clinic
- speak to someone from Brighton SHAC services, who offer pregnancy advice
- speak to your doctor or GP
- contact Sexwise for advice and support.
Remember that no one has the right to tell you what to do – the decision is yours.
Important: Sometimes pregnancy can occur as a result of a sexual assault. You can access specific support following a sexual assault, including emergency contraception, from The Saturn Centre Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC). You can also report any incidents of sexual assault using our Report + Support tool. Find out more about the support available if you have been sexually assaulted.
Pregnancy and your studies
Whether or not you decide to continue with your pregnancy, your situation may affect your studies and you may need advice on mitigating evidence. A Student Advisor can talk you through this procedure and explain any additional support that is available to you.
There is a whole range of support that the University can offer to pregnant students including:
- allowing you to take time out from your course
- considering any health and safety risks posed by your course
- finding alternative arrangements for your assessments.
You might want to inform the University of your pregnancy as early as possible so that action can be taken to ensure that you are adequately supported.