With so many birth control methods, it can take a lot of research to determine the right one for you. One choice is the birth control shot.
The birth control shot is a long-acting form of progesterone. When given as a shot, it prevents ovulation.
The shot is given as an injection by a doctor in the upper arm or buttocks. Each shot provides protection against pregnancy for up to 14 weeks, but the shot must be received once every 12 weeks to remain fully protected.
Getting the birth control shot within the first seven days after the start of your period provides immediate protection from pregnancy. Otherwise, another form of backup birth control is necessary for the first week after getting the shot.
There are several advantages to the birth control shot. Women don't have to remember to take it every day or use it before sex. It provides long-term protection as long as the shot is received every three months.
The birth control shot does not contain estrogen. So it can be a good choice for women who cannot take estrogen and for those who are breastfeeding. The shot can also help prevent cancer of the uterus lining.
There are disadvantages associated with the birth control shot. Some women have unpleasant side effects while using it. But many adjust to it with little or no problems. Irregular bleeding is the most common side effect, especially during the first six to 12 months. For most women, periods become fewer and lighter. After one year, half of the women who use the birth control shot stop having periods completely.
It does not provide protection against sexually transmitted diseases. And regular doctor visits can be inconvenient.
Women who use the birth control shot may have temporary bone thinning which increases the longer they use it. Bone growth begins again when women stop using the shot.
Not all women can use the birth control shot. It isn’t recommended for women who’ve had blood clots, certain types of cancers, or certain types of migraine headaches.
Because the birth control shot is long lasting, it can take a long time to get pregnant after getting your last shot — anywhere from nine months to more than a year.