Effectiveness in Preventing Pregnancy
- Of 100 women who use this method each year, about 6 may get pregnant.
- The risk is lower in women who get the shot on time.
Office Visit Required
- Yes, only a health care provider can give a woman the birth control shot
What is the birth control shot?
The birth control shot is an injection of progestin, a hormone found in birth control pills. Hormones are chemicals that control how different parts of your body work. The shot prevents pregnancy by keeping the ovaries from releasing eggs. It also causes cervical mucus to thicken and the lining of the uterus to thin. This keeps sperm from reaching the egg.
The most commonly used injectable contraceptive is Depo-Provera, sometimes called Depo.
How do I use it?
Your healthcare provider needs to give you the birth control shot. Each shot lasts for at least 12 weeks (about three months). It is important to get each shot on time, otherwise you may get pregnant.
Drawbacks of the birth control shot
- Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV, and may increase the risk of getting an STI if condoms are not used with a partner who has an STI.
- Requires a visit to a health care provider every 12 weeks.
- It may take up to a year after stopping the shot to become pregnant, especially the longer the shot is used.
- Some women experience side effects such as breast tenderness, spotting or bleeding between periods, weight gain, nervousness, abdominal discomfort and/or headaches.
- Using the shot longer than two years continuously may cause some thinning of a woman's bones. However, normal bone growth returns when a woman stops taking the birth control shot.