Emergency Contraceptive Pill

The Emergency Contraceptive Pill (ECP) contains Levonorgestrel 1.5mg a progesterone which is safe for most women to take with minimal side-effects (a small number of women feel sick). The person giving the ECP to you will also give you more information.

If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse (including contraceptive failure or missed contraceptive pills) it can prevent a pregnancy by stopping ovulation (egg release) or preventing fertilisation (egg and sperm meeting). It will not work if you are already pregnant.  

You can ask for the ECP at any pharmacy, General Practice/Doctor's Surgery or INP Medical. The service is free for all women (eligible to publicly funded healthcare in New Zealand) and CONFIDENTIAL.

Some extra information for you:

  • The ECP does not protect you against unprotected intercourse after taking the pill or sexually transmitted infections; 
  • If you vomit within 3 hours of taking the ECP you will need another pill;
  • If your period is more than 5 days late, you will need to see a doctor;
  • 3 weeks after taking the ECP, you need a sexual health check up to test for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.

If you get the ECP from a pharmacy, you will be given an ECP voucher for a free, CONFIDENTIAL, sexual health consultation with a Doctor, Practice Nurse or INP Medical Nelson (your choice) where you can talk about your future contraceptive choices. Please take this voucher to a healthcare provider for your free, CONFIDENTIAL, consultation.

All your personal information is CONFIDENTIAL and will not be passed onto any other person without your consent. Non-identifiable data, such as the age and number of women using this service, will be collected and complied for auditing purposes only.

This service will help you to prevent an unwanted pregnancy after unprotected sexual intercourse in the previous 72 hours. However, it is more effective if taken within 24 hours of unprotected sex, so use it as soon as possible.

For more information

ECP explained video

Family Violence Police disclosure scheme for partners

 Child Protection Keeping our children safe

Who can access this service?

  • Women of any age who are eligible to publicly funded healthcare in New Zealand (see MoH website for criteria;
  • Alternatively, if you are not eligible for the free service, you can buy the ECP from any pharmacy in the region (prices may vary but average around $40).

How to be referred

Go to any pharmacy or general practice and ask for the ECP or morning after pill.