At a Glance:
- Tiny plastic device that is inserted in your arm to prevent pregnancy
- Incredibly discreet
- Over 99% effective
- Does not protect against STIs (sexually transmitted infections). Use condoms as a backup method to lower risk of infection.
- One time procedure, then nothing to worry about for another 3-5 years
- Upon removal, most women’s ability to get pregnant returns within 3 weeks
What it is:
The implant is one of the most effective contraceptive methods available. One or two tiny plastic rods (depending on the brand) are inserted into the upper arm right under the skin. It slowly releases hormones into your body, which keeps you protected against pregnancy for up to 3-5 years.
You can’t see the implant and can only feel it when you press down on the site of insertion, making it your little secret. The implant is a good choice if you are looking for a worry-free birth control method. There’s really nothing to do besides having the implant inserted and letting it keep you protected until you want to get it removed or when it’s time to replace it.
Implants are also a safe choice for women above 35, as you can use the implant until menopause (when you stop having your period).
The hormones in the implant prevent pregnancy by stopping the ovaries from releasing eggs. The implant also causes the mucus in the cervix (entry to the uterus) to thicken which helps block sperm from getting to the egg is the first place.
Your healthcare provider will give you a local anesthetic at the site of insertion to numb the area. Then using a trocar (a sort of thick, hallow needle) or an insertion device, the implant is inserted between your layer of skin and muscle in the upper arm. If you have the implant inserted while you are on your period, congratulations, the implant’s effects are immediate! However if you get the implant more than 7 days after your last period, use a backup method such as a condom for the following week.
Once the implant is in, you don’t have to worry about birth control for another 3-5 years. At the end of that time, you need to visit your health practitioner who will remove the implant by making a small incision. At that point of time, you can also have your implant replaced if you so choose.
- Can be used while breastfeeding
- Lasts for up to 3-5 years (depending on brand)
- Very discreet
- Safe for smokers, and diabetics
- Can improve PMS and depression
- Almost immediate return to fertility once removed
- Doesn’t interrupt the moment
- Many women with the implant have fewer, lighter periods or their period stops all together.
Worrying about negative side effects is normal, but for most women, they are not a problem. If you do experience side effects, they should go away over time. As you are introducing hormones into your body, it might take a little time to adjust.
If your negative side effects persist more than 6 months, talk to a health care professional about switching to a better option for you.
Common Side Effects:
- Irregular periods (usually for the first 6-12 months)
- Pain at insertion site (short term, 2-3 days after insertion)
Less common side effects:
- Weight gain
- Change in sex drive and appetite
- Pain at insertion site
- Sore breasts
Most of these side effects will subside after 3 months.