Birth control shot (Depo-Provera®)
What is Depo-Provera?
Depo-Provera® is a prescribed hormone (a progestin) that is injected into either a woman’s upper arm or buttocks by a doctor or nurse. It is given 4 times per year, every 3 months.
How does the shot work?
It works by:
- Stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg, this prevents pregnancy.
- Decreasing the lining of the uterus so that it is difficult for a fertilized egg to implant.
- Thickening the cervical mucus so that it is difficult for sperm to get to the egg.
How effective is it?
- It is 99.7% effective against pregnancy, when taken every 3 months, as recommended.
- Depo-Provera ® provides no protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) .
Where can I get the shot?
- A prescription is needed to get Depo-Provera ®.
- You need to get it in a medical clinic or office as a nurse or doctor uses a needle to administer Depo-Provera ®.
- Depo-Provera is not offered at the Brant County Health Unit
What are the advantages/disadvantages to using Depo-Provera®?
- Nothing must be taken daily or used at the time of intercourse; therefore this method of birth control does not interrupt lovemaking.
- It is very effective (99.7%), when taken every 3 months.
- May decrease menstrual cramps.
- May decrease length of period.
- Some women may not get a period at all.
- Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) .
- May cause an increase in depression.
- Some women may have very irregular periods.
- Some women may gain weight.
- May take 6-8 months for a normal period to return after discontinuing use.
- May take 6-18 months to get pregnant after discontinuing use.
- Some may be allergic to Depo-Provera ®, but it is very rare.
- Side effects may continue for 8 months after your last needle.
- Risk of osteoporosis (low bone density mass) increases after 2 years use.
What is the cost of Depo-Provera®?
- Depo-Provera® costs about $35-45 per injection.
- The needle is given four times per year… so your annual cost is approximately $140-$180 /year.
What if I am late for the next shot?
- Contact your health provider. A pregnancy test is required before you receive your next shot.
- A non-hormonal method of birth control should be used until you receive your shot and for the two weeks after your shot.
What if I miss my period?
- If you are late for a shot, call the Brant County Health Unit or visit your health care provider to arrange a pregnancy test. Use a non-hormonal method of birth control during sex to prevent pregnancy and a latex condom to prevent STI.
You should not use the shot if…
- You are pregnant
- You are in your teens
- You have unexplained vaginal bleeding
- You have a history of a blood clot
- You have breast cancer
- There is anything wrong with your liver