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The contraceptive Injection

 Quick Facts

  • It is a shot containing hormones.
  • There is generally a delay in your return to fertility.


With proper administration, the Injection is more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy
Injection 99%

Key Benefits 

  • It is very effective
  • Widely available
  • It protects for up to 12 weeks.

What is a Contraceptive injection?

The contraceptive Injection contains hormones, either the progestin alone or progestin and estrogen in combination. It works similar to the pill or a vaginal ring.  Like the combined pills, they prevent pregnancy by suppressing ovulation and preventing your ovaries from releasing an egg. Also, they help to:

  • Thicken the cervical mucus, thus preventing the sperm from reaching an egg.
  • Making the lining of the uterus (endometrium) thin prevents the implantation of a fertilized egg.

You usually have the injections in your buttocks, but you can also have them in your upper arm.

How is contraceptive Injection given?

  • The Injection is given in your buttock or upper arm muscles.
  • The best time to get it is during the first five days of your period. It will protect you straight away from pregnancy.
  • If you get injected later in your cycle, you must use condoms for seven days after getting the Injection for protection.
  • If you choose to have the Injection during your cycle, you should have a pregnancy test before the Injection and another test in 4 weeks to ensure you are not pregnant.

It is essential to get injections repeatedly every 12/13 weeks. But if it has been more than 15 weeks since your last Injection, talk to your doctor.


  • The Injection protects for either 8 or 13 weeks, depending upon the type.
  • It does not interrupt sex as in condom use
  • You may consider it if you can’t use estrogen-containing methods.
  • You need not remember to take a pill daily.
  • It is even safe to use if you’re breastfeeding.
  • The Injection may decrease the heavy, painful periods for some women.
  • Other medications do not affect its working.
  • It is easy to maintain privacy while using it.
  • There is some flexibility in return visits. You may return as much as two weeks early or later than the due date for Injection.


  • The Injection does not protect you from HIV (AIDS) and other sexually transmissible infections (STIs).
  • Return of fertility may take up to a year after the last Injection, which is longer than other reversible contraceptive methods.
  • Some side effects, such as nausea, headache or abdominal pains, acne, hair loss, decreased sex drive and mood swings, and changes in your periods may occur.
  • Side effects, if any, may continue for as long as the Injection lasts or even for some time later.
  • You may sometimes gain some weight.
  • Your periods may become irregular, heavier, shorter, lighter, or stop altogether. Breast tenderness and depression are bothersome side effects.
  • There is the weakening of bones after repeated use for a more extended period.

Essential Tips

  • Avoid high-pressure sexual situations and drugs or alcohol that can affect your good judgment. Pressure from your peers can make this decision very difficult. Be prepared to get better at it.
  • Stand by your decision and never feel bad about saying no to the intercourse.
  • Plan about a backup contraceptive if you fail and get caught up in the “heat of the moment.”
  • Even if you go for Abstinence, it is good to learn about other contraceptives.

Recommended to use if

  • If you miss having an injection for more than 14  weeks, it is better to use condoms until the Injection has started working again. 
  • It would be better to note the date or a reminder on your phone when your next Injection is due.
  • If you wish to get pregnant in the next 12 to 18 months, using another reversible contraceptive method is better. When you stop using the contraceptive Injection, it can take several months before you will be pregnant.
  • Use Emergency Contraception as a ‘backup’ if you are more than two weeks late for DMPA injection or more than three days for combined monthly Injection.

Not Recommended if

  • You are doubtful if you are pregnant.
  • You are breastfeeding for less than six weeks after childbirth.
  • There is or was an incidence of breast cancer.
  • You have had ischaemic heart disease, severe blood pressure, and diabetes mellitus for more than 20 years with complications.
  • You suffer from deep vein clots, pulmonary embolism, or liver disease.
  • There is bleeding after sex, or periods are irregular
  • You don’t like any change in your menstrual cycle
  • There may be some weight gain with Injection. If you do not wish so, do not go for it.
  • You have high weight.
  • If you wish to have a baby soon ( months).

In Short

The contraceptive Injection is a highly effective method of birth control that can protect against pregnancy for up to 3 months. However, you must not use it if you want to get pregnant immediately after.

  1. N H S
    Your contraception guide
  2. AIIMS India
    Guide Book for Health-Care Providers
  3. Healthdirect Australia
    injection contraceptive
  4. Department of Health, State Government of Victoria, Australia
    Contraception – injections for women





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