The Depo Shot

Depo Provera “The Shot”

The Depo shot (DMPA), or Depo Provera, is a long acting progesterone contraceptive injection. This method of birth control is effective, convenient, and lasts three months. DMPA is safe even for women who can not take estrogen. It works by stopping ovulation and thickening cervical mucus which helps to prevent sperm from reaching the female egg.  Simply make an appointment with your health care provider every three months to receive your DMPA injection.

Does DMPA prevent pregnancy?

Yes, it prevents pregnancy well and you do not need to take a pill every day. Only 0.3 % of women get pregnant while using DMPA (meaning 1-3 women out of 100 women may get pregnant while using DMPA as directed). It is important to get your scheduled injection on time. You will be provided with a follow up injection card to remind you of your next injection date.

What makes DMPA a good choice?

Women of contraceptive age (non-menopausal) use DMPA for a variety of reasons. DMPA is private, with no daily pills to remember. DMPA can also help with heavy or painful periods, and it lasts three months. Almost all women can use DMPA, even women who cannot use the combined oral contraceptive pill because of migraines, smoking, or a history of a thrombotic event.

Who should not use Depo?

Women who take anticoagulant medication (blood thinners) cannot use DMPA because they may experience bleeding at the injection site. DMPA may cause amenorrhea meaning no menses (period) or irregular vaginal bleeding. It may also cause weight gain. For some women it may be inconvenient to schedule an appointment to see their provider every three months. Consult with your health care provider prior to using DMPA.

How will my menstrual cycle (period) change?

Your menstrual cycle may change which is one of the main reasons women discontinue DMPA as a birth control method. Your periods may be heavier, longer, or disappear completely. The chance of amenorrhea (no period at all) will increase over time but not having your period is not dangerous. You may have spotting daily or in between your normal monthly menses. . Irregular bleeding and or spotting can be managed by your provider with other hormonal methods.
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