Birth Control Implant at a Glance
- A matchstick-sized rod that is inserted in the arm to prevent pregnancy
- Safe, effective, and convenient
- Must be inserted by a health care provider
- Costs between $0 and $800 up front, but lasts up to 4 years
Is the Birth Control Implant Right for Me?
Here are some of the most common questions we hear women ask about the birth control implant. We hope you find the answers helpful.
Planned Parenthood's birth control and period tracker app for iPhone and Android
What is the birth control implant?
The birth control implant (AKA Nexplanon) is a tiny, thin rod about the size of a matchstick. The implant releases hormones into your body that prevent you from getting pregnant. A nurse or doctor inserts the implant into your arm and that's it — you're protected from pregnancy for up to 4 years. It's get-it-and-forget-it birth control.
How does the implant work?
The birth control implant is a tiny, thin rod about the size of a matchstick. It's also called Nexplanon and there's a slightly older version called Implanon. A doctor inserts the implant under the skin of your upper arm. It releases the hormone progestin to stop you from getting pregnant.
The hormones in the birth control implant prevent pregnancy in two ways:
- Progestin thickens the mucus on your cervix, which stops sperm from swimming through to your egg. When sperm can't meet up with an egg, pregnancy can't happen.
- Progestin can also stop eggs from leaving your ovaries (called ovulation), so there's no egg to fertilize. When eggs aren't released, you can't get pregnant.
One of the awesome things about the implant is that it lasts for a long time — up to four years — but it's not permanent. If you decide you want to get pregnant or you just don't want to have your implant anymore, your doctor can take it out. You're able to get pregnant quickly after the implant is removed.
Does the implant prevent STDs?
Nope. Nexplanon doesn't protect against STDs. Luckily, using condoms or female condoms every time you have sex does lower your chances of getting or spreading STDs. So using condoms with your implant is the best way to prevent infections.
Find Dr. Cullins' Answers to Common Sexual Health Questions
Q&A with Dr. Cullins