The contraceptive injection contains the hormone progestogen and offers medium term prevention of pregnancy.
It is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
There are three types of injection available in the UK:
A doctor, nurse or clinician will inject you, either in the muscle of your bottom or upper arm (Depo Provera/Noristerat), or into the skin of the thigh or abdomen (Sayana Press).
Once you’ve had the injection, you don't have to think about contraception for the specified period, though you should make a note of when it will wear off.
The injection prevents pregnancy by:
The Sayana Press injection is designed to be self-administered, as well as usable in a clinic. It is a single use subcutaneous injection. This means the needle must be inserted into the fatty layer beneath the skin.
It is designed for you to do the injection yourself. It is pre-filled and ready to use in the comfort of your own home. The needle is much smaller and shorter than the injectable that you have in a clinic (Depo-Provera).
If you want to use a self-injectable, you first need to make an appointment in a clinic, and have a consultation with a clinician. They will be able to make sure the self-injectable is appropriate for you and show you how to safely and effectively do the injection yourself. Once you have been shown how to use a self-injectable in a clinic, you will be able to order a repeat delivery of the injection.
If you have the injection during the first five days of your period, you will be immediately protected against becoming pregnant.
If you have the injection on any other day of your cycle, you will not be protected against pregnancy for up to 7 days. Use condoms or another method of contraception during this time.
If you think your next injection is late, use condoms until you know that your injection is definitely protecting you again.
If you have had unprotected sex and are worried you may need to use emergency contraception.
Once it is inserted you cannot remove the injection but its effects will wear off after 8-13 weeks, depending on the type used.
It can take up to one year for your fertility and periods to return to normal after the injection wears off, so it may not be suitable if you want to have a baby in the near future.
Irregular bleeding may also continue for some months after you stop the injections.
It is similar to getting any other injection such as pre-travel vaccinations.
If you are over 50 you should consider alternative methods of contraception. Those approaching the menopause should discuss their risk of osteoporosis with their health care provider.
Some research has shown Depo Provera is associated with a small loss in bone mineral density, which then returns to normal within a few years of stopping the injection.
Yes, the injectable contraception can be used after having a baby and while breastfeeding.
The injection may not be suitable if you have or have had any of the following:
Speak to your GP about whether it is suitable for you.