Contraceptive Implant

At A Glance

  • A tiny device made of plastic and inserted in your arm to prevent pregnancy
  • Incredibly discreet
  • Reversible
  • Over 99% effective
  • Does not protect against STIs (sexually transmitted infections). Use condoms as a protection against infections
  • One time procedure, then nothing to worry about for the next 3 years

What Is It

The contraceptive implant is one of the most effective methods. One or two tiny plastic rods of the implant (depending on the brand) is/are inserted just right under the skin of the upper arm. The implant protects you against pregnancy by slowly releasing hormones into your body, which can last for up to three years.

Implants are unnoticeable, and can only be felt when you press down on its location. The implant will not require much effort on your part except for having it inserted and letting it keep you protected until you want to have it removed or until it’s due to be replaced — which makes it a great choice for those who want a worry-free and hassle-free contraceptive method. Implants are also safe for women over 35 years of age because they can be used until menopause.

How It Works

The hormones released by the implant prevent pregnancy by stopping the ovaries from releasing egg cells, and by thickening the cervical mucus at the entrance of the uterus which blocks sperm cells from reaching the egg cell.

How To Use It

Before insertion, the healthcare provider will numb the site where the implant will be placed by giving you a local anesthetic. With the use of a trocar (a thick, hollow needle), the implant will be inserted in the upper arm, just between the layer of skin and muscle. Having the implant inserted while on your period will let it be effective immediately. If you have it inserted more than seven days after your last period, you’ll need to use a backup method such as a condom for a week.

The contraceptive implant is good for three years, but you can have it removed earlier if you want to do so. There’s nothing you need to worry about during the entire time it’s with you. When it’s due for replacement, you’ll have to visit your healthcare provider to make an incision, extract the previous implant, and replace it with a new one.

The Positives

  • Safe for breastfeeding mothers
  • Lasts for 3 years 
  • Very discreet
  • Safe for smokers, and diabetics
  • Can calm symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
  • Fertility returns almost immediately once removed
  • Many women with the implant have fewer, lighter periods or no periods at all

The Negatives

It’s normal to be worried about the possible negative side effects, but most women did not have a problem with the contraceptive injectables. In case you do experience any side effects, that may be a sign that your body is adjusting to the hormones you’re introducing to it. These side effects will go away in time once your body has adjusted.

If negative side effects continue beyond six months, you may consult your healthcare provider for possible options.

Common Experiences

  • Irregular periods (usually for the first 6-12 months)
  • Pain at the insertion site (short term, 2-3 days after insertion)

Most of these side effects will subside after three months.


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