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Contraceptive Implant Fact Sheet

How effective is it?

Of 100 women using implants, less than one may become pregnant each year. An implant is effective in preventing pregnancy when left in place for up to three years.

Advantages of implants

  • Along with IUDs, implants are the most cost-effective reversible method of birth control

  • Safe and effective in preventing pregnancy

  • Maintenance free for up to three years

  • If a woman wants to become pregnant, it is very easy for a health care provider to remove the implant.

  • There is nothing you have to remember, which is great for people who have a hard time remembering or don't want to use other methods like the pill, patch or ring.

  • Your male partner doesn't have to know about it or do anything different.

How do I get it?

A healthcare professional needs to put the implant under your skin. To search for a family planning center near you where you can get an implant, go to www.hhs.gov/opa.

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Quick Facts

Effectiveness in Preventing Pregnancy

  • Of 100 women using implants, about 1 will become pregnant

Use

  • Health care provider inserts a single rod under the skin of the upper arm

STI Protection

  • No

Clinic Visit Required

  • Yes, only available through a health care provider

How do I use it?

Placing the rod under the skin of the arm is a simple procedure done by a health care provider. It is done in the office and takes only a few minutes. It may take a week for the implant to begin working, so ask if you need to use a back-up method of birth control (like a condom) in the meantime.

The implant will work well in preventing pregnancy for three years. A health care provider can easily remove the old implant and put a new one in place when at the right time. The rod can also be taken out anytime if you decide you want to get pregnant.

  • It is common for women to have bleeding (especially in the first few months) and changes to their periods with an implant. Some women may have heavier periods, but for most women, periods will become lighter or stop altogether.
  • Less often, women who have an implant may experience acne, weight gain, mood changes, headaches, and breast tenderness. Ask your health care provider what to expect, and what types of symptoms (like severe discomfort) you should let them know about.

Advantages of implants

  • Implants do not require the consent of the female's partner
  • They are safe and effective in preventing pregnancy
  • Implants work for three years
  • If a woman wants to become pregnant it is very easy for a health care provider to remove the implant

Drawbacks of implants

  • Requires a clinic visit
  • Provides no protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • May cause bleeding or changes to your period. Some women gain weight or have stomach aches or headaches

Sources

Office on Women's Health:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Food and Drug Administration