What is it?

The implant is a single, thin rod or tube containing hormones that is inserted under the skin of a women’s upper arm. It protects against pregnancy for up to three years. The implant is available under the brand names Implanon and Nexplanon.

How does it work?

The implant releases a hormone called progestin into the body. The progestin in the implant works by keeping eggs leaving the ovaries (ovulation). Without ovulation you can’t get pregnant. The implant lasts for three years.

What is the process for putting the implant in your arm?

Your health care provider will give you medicine to make your arm numb for a few minutes. Then they will slip the small implant under the skin. It will only take a few minutes. The implant can be removed at any time. To do so, your health provider will give you medicine to make your arm numb again. They will usually make a small cut to find and remove the implant. Removal usually takes just a few minutes. A new implant may be inserted at this time, if you want to stay protected and not get pregnant. Or, if you have decided to try a different method or you are ready to get pregnant, the implant will be taken out. A pregnancy can happen after the implant is removed.

How well does it work?

If you get the implant during the first five days of your period, you are protected against pregnancy immediately. Otherwise, you need to use some form of backup birth control — like a condom, female condom, diaphragm, or the sponge.

Less than 1 out of 100 women a year will become pregnant using the implant.

Certain medicines and vitamin or herbal supplements may make the implant less effective. Talk to your health care provider about the medications you are taking or plan to take. These hormonal implants don’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STIs). Use a male or female condom to reduce the risk of infection.

What are the benefits?

  • The implant is safe
  • The implant works well to prevent pregnancy for up to three years
  • When you are ready, you can become pregnant after your health provider removes the implant
  • It’s easy! You don’t have to remember to take a pill every day put in (and take out a ring) every month
  • For most women, periods become fewer and lighter. After one year, 1 out of 3 women who use the birth control implant will stop having periods completely. After you stop using the Implant, your body will go back to normal and you will get your period back
  • It can be used while breastfeeding
  • It can be used by women who cannot take estrogen

What is the downside?

  • Some women have increased spotting and light bleeding between periods Some women have longer, heavier periods
  • The implant cannot be used by women who have breast cancer
  • Sometimes, some women may have a change in sex drive. They may feel less likely to “be in the mood” to have sex
  • Discoloring or scarring of the skin over the implant
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Pain at the place where the implant was inserted
  • Sore breasts
  • Weight gain
  • It is important to have a good relationship with your health provider and let them know about any changes in your body so they can help figure out how to make you feel better

How can I get it?

See a health care provider to get the birth control implant. You will need to share your medical history and get a physical exam

How much does it cost?

The cost of the exam, the implant, and insertion ranges from $0–$800. Removal costs between $0 and $300 But, Medicaid and many private insurance plans will cover most, if not all of the costs other state programs should pay for it. 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.