Birth Control Shots That Prevent Pregnancy
Today, hormone injections are available that help prevent pregnancy. These are very effective as emergency contraception as well.
Depo Provera, the brand name for birth control shots, is also known as DMPA or Depot Medroxyprogesterone Acetate.
It is a hormone injection or shot that must be taken once every three months to prevent pregnancy effectively. The shot contains synthetic progesterone and no estrogen, and it is primarily meant to stop the ovary from releasing its eggs.
A high level of progesterone is injected into the womans body, usually through the arm, or the hip, and in some cases, directly into the abdomen.
Not only does the medication prevent the release of eggs from the ovary and changes the uterine lining, but it also serves to thicken the cervical mucus, thereby preventing the sperm from being able to enter and to survive in the womans uterus.
These are in essence the factors that help avoid fertilization to take place, thereby preventing an unwanted pregnancy.
Although it may be true that taking these birth control shots may be effective because they do not affect the womens body in any other visible manner, it may be inconvenient, because women has to go back to the clinic once every three months to take another shot.
These are some of the advantages of taking a birth control shot:
However, there are a few disadvantages as well:
Anyone can use birth control shots. However, if the woman is pregnant already, she must not use the shot.
How Do I Make The Shot Work Best For Me
To get the shots full birth control powers, you have to remember to get a new shot every 12-13 weeks. Thats about every 3 months, or 4 times a year. Most of the time, a doctor or a nurse must give you the shot. So you have to make an appointment at a health center, and then remember to go to the appointment. But you also may be able to get a supply of shots at the health center to bring home and give yourself. You can use our birth control app to keep track of when you need to get your next shot, and any upcoming shot appointments.
You can start using the birth control shot whenever you want. If you get your first shot within the first 7 days after the start of your period, youre protected from pregnancy right away. If you get it at any other time in your cycle, you need to use another form of birth control for the first week after getting the shot.
After your first shot, its all about remembering when to get your follow-up shots. Here are some tips to make sure you stay on top of it:
- Use our birth control reminder app or set an alarm on your phone.
- Add it to whatever calendar you use on a daily basis.
- Ask friends, family members, or your partner to remind you.
Bottom line: do whatever works for you to make sure you get your follow-up shots about every 12-13 weeks.
If youre 2 or more weeks late getting your shot, your doctor or nurse may ask you to take a pregnancy test, or tell you to use emergency contraception if you had vaginal sex in the previous 120 hours .
Combined Hormonal Birth Control
Combined hormonal birth control, also known as CHC or the pill, is readily available and is about 91% effective at preventing pregnancy. The pill is taken orally and contains both estrogen and progestin, which prevents the ovaries from releasing eggs. You can simply stop taking the pill if you want to get pregnant. Although it may take a while for your cycle to become regular again, it is possible to get pregnant right away after you stop taking the pill.
How long after birth control can you get pregnant will also depend on many factors that include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Age is an important factor when trying to conceive, since fertility decreases as a woman ages.
- Overall health is also something to consider. Obesity or malnutrition can make it harder to conceive, as can certain medical conditions such as pituitary gland disorders, or polycystic ovary syndrome , and thyroid disorders, among others.
- Your partners sperm count can also affect how long it takes to conceive.
- Reproductive health is also a very important factor for couples who want to conceive immediately after birth control. Endometriosis, fallopian tube blockage, pelvic infections and irregular menstruations can also affect how long it takes to get pregnant.
- Lastly, having sex during your fertile days will increase the chances an egg gets fertilized.
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What Happens When You Stop Taking Birth Control
When you go off hormonal birth control, you might feel or notice some changes in your body but those arent side effects as we typically think of them. Rather, your body and reproductive system are transitioning back to their pre-birth control state.
Dr. Jane van Dis, MD, FACOG, OB-GYN and member of our medical advisory board, explains: “If you’re going off birth control, expect that some of those experiences and side effects you had before you went on will come back.” Some of these changes like weight gain or weight loss while on birth control can especially affect your menstrual cycle after stopping.
The post-BC changes youll experience vary from person to person, but heres some of what you might expect after stopping birth control:
1.The adjustment period: For most people who quit taking birth control with estrogen and progestin , your ovaries and menstrual cycle will return to normal within 90 days whatever that looked like for you before starting birth control.
The length of time youve spent on birth control will not affect this 90-day time frame, Dr. van Dis explains, since most of the medications clear from your system in 48 hours.
5. Mood swings and depression: Since birth control pills can be associated with changes in mood for some people, stopping BC can result in mood swings, and increased or decreased feelings of depression.
Breastfeeding As Birth Control
If you exclusively and frequently breastfeed %20is,or%206%20hours%20at%20night.” rel=”nofollow”> at least every four hours during the day and every six hours at night) your body won’t ovulate, which means your menstrual cycle won’t start and you can’t get pregnant. This is nature’s cool way of preserving your resources by spacing out pregnancy, and it can work for about six months.
But nursing on demand every few hours during the day and night isn’t sustainable for many people, and using breastfeeding as birth control won’t work if you also feed your baby formula for some meals, if you use a breast pump or do anything other than exclusively nurse. Interestingly, pumping is thought to interfere with the birth control effect because it doesn’t send the same signal to your brain as an infant’s suckling, so it doesn’t keep ovulation suppressed.
Dr. Leena Nathan, an OB-GYN at University of California, Los Angeles Health, says she doesn’t recommend breastfeeding alone as a contraceptive method to patients because it can be hard to predict when ovulation will start up again.
“I’ve definitely seen that in my patients — where they’re exclusively breastfeeding and then their period starts again,” Nathan says.
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Medications That Interfere With The Pill
Some medications can make the pill less effective. Medications include certain antibiotics, such as rifampicin, and anti-fungal drugs, such as griseofulvin.
A person should use backup contraception while taking these medications and for 48 hours after finishing the course.
Other more long-term medications and supplements may also affect how well birth control pills work. These can include:
- epilepsy drugs, such as phenobarbital, phenytoin, and carbamazepine
- anti-viral medications used to treat HIV
- St. Johns Wort, which is a herbal remedy
Birth control pills are very effective if a person takes them correctly and does not miss any pill days. The following tips can help prevent unintended pregnancies while taking the pill:
- reading the packaging and following the instructions carefully
- taking the pill at the same time every day
- using an app that tracks periods and provides pills reminders, such as one of the apps from our review article
- always getting a new pill pack at least 1 week before the last pill pack is due to run out
- always taking missed pills as soon as possible
- using a backup method of contraception, such as a condom, if a person misses taking two or more pills in a row
If a person is concerned about not being able to take their pills consistently, they should speak to their doctor or gynecologist about other birth control methods. There are several options available that do not require taking a pill daily, such as an intrauterine device, or IUD.
When It Starts To Work
You can have the injection at any time during your menstrual cycle, as long as you’re not pregnant.
If you have the injection during the first 5 days of your menstrual cycle, you’ll be immediately protected against becoming pregnant.
If you have the injection on any other day of your cycle, you’ll need to use additional contraception, such as condoms, for 7 days.
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If I Had My Tubes Tied Can I Still Get Pregnant If I Want To
Getting your tubes tied is designed to be permanent. If you want to try and get pregnant, it is possible to have the procedure reversed. In general, research suggests 31% to 90% of those who have the procedure reversed will be able to become pregnant and depending on how the tubes were tied in the first place, how long it has been since they were tied, and how damaged the tubes are . Another option for pregnancy after getting your tubes tied is in vitro fertilization .
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Transitioning Off Birth Control
It is certain that women need to stop all contraceptive methods before attempting to get pregnant. Women who stop taking birth control pills will notice that their menstrual cycles return to normal within one to three months after stopping the pill.
If your period has not yet started again after this time frame, get yourself a pregnancy test kit to confirm your pregnancy!
However if your cycles have returned, you still have difficulties conceiving. Speak to your fertility expert. Or read more here.
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How Does The Birth Control Shot Work
The birth control shot contains the hormone progestin. Progestin stops you from getting pregnant by preventing ovulation. When theres no egg in the tube, pregnancy cant happen. It also works by making cervical mucus thicker. When the mucus on the cervix is thicker, the sperm cant get through. And when the sperm and the egg cant get together, pregnancy cant happen.
What If I Am Late For My Injection
|If it is less than 15 weeks since your last injection||
|If it has been more than 15 weeks since your last injection||
Seek medical attention immediately if you have any of the following symptoms, as they could indicate a serious complication:
- Signs of pregnancy
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How Effective Is Contraception
All the methods of contraception listed below are effective but none is 100% reliable. Reliability of each method is written in terms of how many failures there are for each 1,000 women using it. For example, between 2 and 60 women in 1,000 women using the contraceptive injection for a year will become pregnant. When no contraception is used, more than 800 in 1,000 sexually active women become pregnant within one year.
The effectiveness of some methods depends on how you use them. You have to use them properly or they are less effective. For example, 3 women in 1,000 using the pill perfectly for a year will become pregnant. Nearer to 90 women in 1,000 using the pill normally or typically will become pregnant. Examples of not perfect use might be missing a pill or being sick . In these situations it becomes less effective. Other user-dependent methods include barrier methods, the progestogen-only pill and natural family planning, which has a very high failure rate of around 240 women in 1,000.
Some methods are not so user-dependent and need to be renewed only infrequently or never. These methods include the contraceptive injection, contraceptive implant, intrauterine contraceptive devices , and sterilisation.
Tips To Prevent Pill Failure
If a person takes the pill correctly and does not skip any pill days, it is highly successful. While using birth control tablets, the following techniques can help you avoid an unexpected pregnancy:
Read the package and carefully follow the directions.
Every day, take the tablet at the same time.
Always obtain a fresh pill pack at least one week before the previous pill pack expires.
Take any missing pills as soon as possible.
If a person misses two or more tablets in a row, use a backup form of contraception, such as a condom.
If a woman is concerned about her ability to take her tablets on a continuous basis, she should consult her doctor or gynecologist about other birth control options. There are several solutions available that do not necessitate the use of a daily tablet, such as the IUD.
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What Are The Disadvantages Of Using Depo
Your healthcare provider will discuss the disadvantages of this birth control option before you take your first shot. These disadvantages can include:
- It can cause unwanted side effects.
- It doesnt provide protection against sexually transmitted infections .
- It can cause irregular menstrual periods.
- You need to stop taking Depo-Provera® several months ahead of time if you plan on becoming pregnant.
- You need to regularly visit your healthcare providers office for injections. Some women find that this becomes inconvenient.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
It is important to find the right birth control that fits your lifestyle and goals. Talk to your healthcare provider about factors like how often you want to take birth control and your plans for any future pregnancies. Certain options, like the birth control shot, are good for people who do not want to take a daily contraceptive. However, you do have to stick to a schedule for your shots when you take Depo-Provera®. Talk to your provider about the pros and cons of the birth control shot to decide if its the right option for you.
Who Cannot Get It
Do not use the birth control shot if you have:
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding not discussed with a health care provider.
- A history of a stroke.
- Diabetes with complications.
- Lupus with antiphospholipid antibodies.
Tell your health care provider if you have any of these risk factors or conditions, or any other medical concerns.
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Will I Have Side Effects When I Stop Using The Shot
Any time theres a change in your hormones like when you go on or off hormonal birth control such as the shot theres a chance of temporary side effects. But they usually go away after a few months.
After you stop using the shot, any Depo side effects that you had will eventually go away, and your body will return to the way it was before you started using it. So if the shot made your period stop, it will eventually come back after you go off the shot. It can take several months for your period to go back to your regular cycle, but you may still be able to get pregnant during this time.
The shot can delay both your period and your ability to get pregnant by up to 10 months after your last shot wears off. But some people do get pregnant soon after stopping the shot. Theres no way to know how long it will take for you. So if you stop using the shot but dont want to get pregnant, make sure to use another method of birth control even if your periods havent gone back to normal yet.
Everyones body is different, and our bodies also change over time. So you cant predict exactly how your body will react to going off the shot. But any negative side effects that you may have will go away within a few months as your body gets used to being off the hormones.
If youre worried about the side effects of going off the shot, talk with your nurse or doctor. They may be able to give you more specific information about what to expect based on your personal medical history.
Test Positive On An Ovulation Predictor Test
These are ovulation test kits you can buy in any pharmacy or online. They work a lot like a pregnancy test, in that you use your urine to test your hormones. While pregnancy tests look for hCG, an ovulation predictor test looks for the hormone luteinizing hormone . LH spikes just before you ovulate.
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