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Contraception methods

Different types of contraception are available in Aotearoa New Zealand.

methods of contraception:

There are different methods of contraception, including:

Contraception options

What is long-acting reversible contraception?

Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) lasts for a long time.

There are two types of LARC. 

Once you have a LARC put in, you don’t need to remember to take contraception every day or every month.

LARCs are the most effective types of contraception. They are more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

What are hormonal contraceptives?

These contraceptives use hormones to prevent pregnancy.

Hormonal contraceptives include the Pill and the Depo Provera injection.

There are two types of pill:

You take one pill each day. If you take the pill correctly, it is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. 

The Depo Provera injection is an injection you get every three months. If you get your injections on time, Depo Provera is more than 99% effective.  

What are barrier methods?

Barrier methods stop sperm from entering the vagina. The two barrier methods are:

Condoms protect against sexually transmissible infections (STIs) and from unintended pregnancy.

You can buy internal condoms from our website and from some pharmacies.

You can get a prescription for condoms from Family Planning or your doctor, or you can buy them from this website, pharmacies, supermarkets, and other shops. 

What is emergency contraception?

There are two options for emergency contraception: the emergency contraceptive pill (ECP) or a copper IUD.

ECP can be taken up to three days after unprotected sex. If you are an average weight, the ECP is 98% effective. If you weigh more than 70kg, the ECP is less effective and a copper IUD is recommended. If you weigh more than 70kg and you choose to take ECP, you should ask if taking a double dose is the right option for you.

The copper IUD can be inserted up to five days after unprotected sex, and is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

Emergency contraception can be used to prevent pregnancy if:

  • you haven't used protection
  • your normal contraception fails e.g. condom splits
  • you have missed more than one contraceptive pill
  • you have been vomiting or had diarrhoea while on the pill
  • you have missed your injection
  • you have been forced to have sex without contraception.

It is not a good idea to use ECP as your regular method of contraception - it is less effective than if you were using a LARC or hormonal method. 


Fertility awareness is learning the signs of fertility in your menstrual cycle to help you plan or avoid a pregnancy. 

What is permanent contraception?

Permanent contraception, sometimes called sterilisation, prevents all future pregnancies. It is very difficult or impossible to reverse. Permanent contraception is either a vasectomy or a tubal ligation

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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