HOW does Depo-Provera® work? Like Norplant, Depo-provera releases small amounts of progestin (a hormone) into the bloodstream. This hormone stops ovaries from releasing eggs. Like the birth control pill, Depo-Provera thickens the mucus at the cervix (opening to the uterus) which prevents sperm from entering the uterus, fertilizing an egg, and causing a pregnancy.
HOW is Depo-Provera USED? This hormone is injected in the arm or the butt every 12 weeks by a trained medical person.
Benefits to using Depo-Provera: Depo-Provera is easy to use. It doesn't interrupt sex. (That means if you are about to have sex you don't have to stop and use this form of birth control before you can continue.) It's an extremely effective method of birth control. Depo-Provera may be used by some women who are unable to use the Pill because of side effects or risk factors to their health.
Concerns connected to using Depo-Provera: It requires an injection by a trained medical person. Menstrual flow patterns may change, especially in the first year. If the woman decides that she wants to get pregnant, and stops taking Depo-Provera, it can take up to 18 months for her body to get back in sync so she can get pregnant. However, some women have gotten pregnant right away after stopping the method, so do not count on any carry-over affects for protection!
The down side to using this method: Possible side effects like headaches, mood changes, weight gain/loss, sore breasts, nausea. These side effects may take up to 1 year to go away.
Effectiveness. Depo-Provera is 99.7% effective in preventing pregnancy. It has only a 0.3% failure rate. That means in a year, for every thousand women using Depo-Provera, 3 of them will get pregnant.
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last updated January 30, 2008
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