Depo Provera

What is it?

Depo Provera, also known as the “shot”, or “Depo”, is an injection or shot of the hormone progestin, a hormone that is naturally found in your body, that prevents pregnancy. Each shot prevents pregnancy for three months. The shot is given in the butt or arm.

How does it work?

The birth control shot releases a hormone called progestin into the body. The progestin in the shot works by keeping eggs from leaving the ovaries or ovulating, No egg – no pregnancy! The shot also makes the cervical mucus thicker. This keeps sperm from getting into the uterus.

After one year, half of the women who use the birth control shot will stop having periods completely while using the shot. Your period always returns after you stop taking Depo. It may take 6-12 months. Depo Provera has no effect on long-term fertility – in other words, whether or not you can have a baby someday.

How well does it work?

Depo Provera works best when you get it every 12 weeks. Since it takes about a week for the Depo to begin working, we recommend you use a back up method like condoms to protect yourself. Condoms are a good idea to keep using anyway as they prevent sexually transmitted diseases which the Depo Provera doesn’t.

Less than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they always use the birth control shot as directed. If not used correctly, 3 out of 100 will get pregnant each year.

Each shot of Depo-Provera will protect you from pregnancy for 12 weeks. So you will need to go to your health care provider every 12 weeks for a shot. If you are two or more weeks late getting your shot, your health care professional may ask you to take a pregnancy test, or may advise you to use emergency contraception if you had sex in the previous 120 hours (five days).

What are the benefits?

  • It is safe and simple
  • You don’t have to think about birth control each time you have sex
  • It gives you effective, long-lasting pregnancy protection
  • It can help prevent cancer of the lining of the uterus
  • For most women, periods become fewer and lighter. Many women like not having to worry about their periods every month. Some like the money they save not having to purchase menstrual products like pads or tampons
  • The shot is a good birth control method for women who cannot use estrogen
  • You are in control! They last for years so you can deal with all the other important things in your life…like school, your job, family, relationships and whatnot

What is the downside?

  • Depo shot doesn’t protect against HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) Important to use a second method like a male or female condom to prevent STI’s
  • Some women may have side effects while using the shot. Irregular bleeding is the most common side effect, especially in the first 6 to 12 months. Other less common ones include, appetite or weight gain, breast tenderness, and nausea. Irregular bleeding, especially in the first 6 to 12 months of use
  • Some woman may worry that they are pregnant if they do not have a regular period. This is only temporary while using the shot as you do not release any eggs on Depo. After you stop using Depo, your body will go back to normal and you will get your period back. It could take 6 to 12 months to get a regular period back

How can I get it?

You need to see a health care provider and review your health history to see if Depo is right for you. If you and your health care provider think Depo is right for you, they can give you the shot. Your health care provider will discuss your medical history with you and give you medical exams that you may need. If you they think Depo-Provera is a good fit for you, they will then give you a shot. You may have a temporary bruise where the shot was injected.

How much does it cost?

Depo-Provera can cost about $20 per month (or $50 to $60 for each 3-month injection). Your health insurance may pay for some or most of the cost of the Depo-Provera shot or some clinics and hospitals may offer you a discount. If you need help finding insurance, log onto SingleStop to find a site near where you live or work to get assistance with getting medical insurance. Also, Project STAY can help you get what you need – come into Project Stay at Farrell on Thursday’s between 2-6pm.