Things to expect if you’re a first-time user of contraceptive injectables

Things to expect if you’re a first-time user of contraceptive injectables

Injectables, or sometimes called Depo, is a contraceptive that contains the hormone progestin. It gives three months’ worth of protection from pregnancy, and works by preventing ovulation and thickening the cervical mucus to prevent the sperm cell from reaching the egg cell.

Before you decide whether the injectable is the contraceptive method for you, here are some of the things you might experience during the first few months.

You may not be protected immediately

It depends on what point you are in your menstrual cycle when you take your first shot. You’re immediately protected if you get it within five days of your period.

If you start mid-cycle or more than five days after your period,  you’ll need to use a backup contraceptive method — such as condoms — during the first seven days.

Some common experiences

Many women experience minor changes in the body during their first few months with the injectable, because the body is adjusting to changes in hormone levels. Common things experienced include:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Bloating
  • Mood changes
  • Decreased libido 

These common experiences are usually temporary and go away once your hormones have regulated, usually within three months. Remember, however, that every person’s body is different and may react differently to the injectable.

Spotting is normal

Spotting and irregular bleeding are common when you first start using the injectable. It’s an effect that some women find alarming, because they didn’t expect it. Don’t panic if this happens to you — it is just your body’s natural reaction to the surge of new hormones.

Expect heavy and/or irregular menstruation

A common experience among first-time users of injectables is having heavier and longer periods during the first few months. But in most cases, periods eventually become lighter or completely absent after several months of usage.

Don’t worry if the injectables cause your period to completely stop. It doesn’t put your health and safety at risk, and, contrary to common misconceptions, it doesn’t cause menstrual blood to “build up” inside your uterus.


Raypole, C. (January 21, 2022). Depo-Provera: Everything to Know About the Birth Control Shot. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/birth-control-depo-provera-shot#:~:text=You%20might%20notice%20some%20period,your%20shot%20every%203%20months 

Mayo Clinic Staff. (n.d.). Depo-Provera (contraceptive injection). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/depo-provera/about/pac-20392204 

Contraception – injections. (n.d.). Better Health Channel. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/contraception-injections-for-women#are-there-any-side-effects-from-using-the-contraceptive-injection 

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