At A Glance:
- Three months of protection against pregnancy in one dose.
- Injected by a health practitioner.
- Irregular periods (or no periods) may occur.
- 99% effective if you get the shot perfectly on time.
What Is It
The contraceptive injectable, or known as Depo or injectables, prevents pregnancy by releasing the hormone progestin. The shot of injectable is administered by a doctor or healthcare provider, and covers three full months (13 weeks) worth of protection against pregnancy. After your shot, you’re good to go and there’s nothing else you need to do.
How It Works
For three months, the injectable continuously releases progestin hormones, which thickens cervical mucus that prevents the sperm cell from meeting the egg cell to fertilize. The injectable also makes it difficult for the egg cell to attach to the uterine wall if it gets fertilized, another action preventing pregnancy.
How To Use It
The only responsibility the injectable will require you is the regular appointments with your healthcare provider for the shot. You’ll have to visit the clinic every three months to get a shot of your injectable, and you’ll come back again when you’re due for the next one. Easy!
It’s important to tell your healthcare provider when you had your last period because that will determine how soon you’ll be protected after getting the injectable. You’ll be protected immediately if you have your period at the time of the shot, but if you’re not on your period, you’ll have to wait for one week for it to be able to protect you.
Getting your injectable on time is very crucial. If you’re late for the next shot for more than four weeks, and have been having sex without any other form of protection, you may need to get a pregnancy test before getting the next shot.
- Easy to use
- Doesn’t interrupt sex
- Unnoticeable—no one will know unless you tell them
- You don’t have to remember taking contraceptives every day.
- May give you shorter, lighter periods—or no periods at all
- Good for three months at a time
- Can be used by women who can’t take estrogen
- It’s very effective at preventing pregnancy—if you get the shots on time
- Safe for breastfeeding mothers
It’s normal to be worried about the changes that you might experience when you take it the first time, but most women do not have a problem with the injectables. In case you do experience anything, that may be a sign that your body is adjusting to the hormones you’re introducing to it. These will go away in time once your body has adjusted.
Most Common Experiences:
- Irregular bleeding, especially for the first 6-12 months (This may include longer, heavier periods, or spotting in between periods, or your period stopping completely).
- Change in appetite.
- Having to visit the clinic every three months (13 weeks).
- Delay in returned fertility for a few months after injections are stopped.
Less Common Experiences:
- Change in sex drive
- Hair loss or more hair on the face and body
- Sore Breasts
Since one injectable is good for three months, no more no less, there is also no way to stop what you’re experiencing or stop the injectable from working. If you are still uncomfortable after going through two courses of injectables, it might be best to switch to another method. Consult your healthcare provider to discuss other options.
- Not having periods is not harmful and does not mean that the blood is “building up” inside the woman.
- Does not cause infertility.
- Even though it is possible for the return of fertility to be delayed, getting the shot on time every three months (13 weeks) is still crucial if you want to effectively prevent pregnancy.
- Getting the shot does not disrupt or affect an existing pregnancy.