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 buttocks or in the  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,  If you were fertile before starting Depo, you will be fertile after you complete using it.

Is it effective?

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 shot 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. What is good about Depo is that the pregnancy prevention does not stop automatically after 12 week. You may have an extra week or so of protection, but we recommend that you stick to the every 12 week schedule if possible. If you are two or more weeks late in getting your shot, your health provider may ask you to take a pregnancy test, and, may advise you to use emergency contraception if you had sex in the previous 72-120 hours (three-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! You can use Depo for years so you can deal with all the other important things in your life…like school, your job, family, relationships and whatnot

What are the downsides?

-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. If that becomes annoying, your provider can give you medicine to stop the irregular bleeding.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 women may worry that they are pregnant if they do not have a regular period. It is normal to not get your period while taking the shot. 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 regularly like you did before. It could take 6 to 12 months to get a regular period back.  So if you plan to get pregnant after using depo, plan ahead of when you want to stop using it.

How can I get it & how much does it cost?

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

If you don’t have a regular health provider, or don’t think you can talk to your provider about birth control, call or text Project STAY at 646-245-4000 to make an appointment to see us to discuss birth control. We can also give you depo.

Depo-Provera can cost about  $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. A Project STAY can provide  you Depo free of charge if you do not have insurance.

How do I know if Depo is right for me?

If your answers to the following questions are YES, then Depo could be a good choice for you:

-I am ok with needles and getting a shot every 3 months

-I am ok with not getting periods regularly

-My parents/guardians don’t check if I get my period each month

-I would love to get rid of my cramps!

-I have migraine headaches or other health problems so I can’t use a birth control method that has estrogen