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The birth control shot is safe for most people, but all medicines have some risks and side effects. Your doctor or nurse will help you figure out if the shot is for you.

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Can I get the birth control shot safely?

Chances are the birth control shot (sometimes called Depo-Provera, the Depo shot, or DMPA) will be safe for you — most people who use it have no problems. But you shouldn’t use it if you’ve had breast cancer. Talk with your nurse or doctor about any other health conditions you have and you can decide together if the shot is a good fit for you.

What are the risks of the shot?

Even though the birth control shot is very safe, using birth control that has progestin can slightly increase your risk of certain health problems. These complications aren’t common, but they can be serious. Your doctor or nurse can help you figure out what the risks are for you.

People who use the birth control shot may have temporary bone thinning. It increases the longer they use the shot.  Bone density usually comes back after they stop using the birth control shot except for people who have already reached menopause. To protect your bones, stop smoking, limit your alcohol, and get regular exercise and extra calcium.

There’s a very small chance that you can get pregnant even if you always use the shot correctly. The shot will not increase the risk of birth defects.

Most people using the birth control shot won’t have any problems at all. But just in case, it’s good to know what the signs of a serious issue are.

Tell your doctor or nurse if you have any of the following while using the shot:

  • severe depression
  • migraine with aura — bad headache where you see bright, flashing zigzags, usually before a bad headache
  • pus, pain for many days, or bleeding where you got the shot
  • very heavy bleeding from your vagina or bleeding for a lot more days than usual
  • yellowing of the skin or eyes

You can always call a nurse, doctor, or your local Planned Parenthood health center if you have any questions or if you’re worried about any health issues.

Is it safe to use the birth control shot while breastfeeding?

Yes, it’s safe to use the birth control shot while you’re breastfeeding.  It shouldn’t have any effect on how much milk you produce, and it won’t hurt your baby. In fact, the shot is a great method to use if you’re breastfeeding and you don’t want to get pregnant.

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The Shot

  • 94% effective

  • Costs up to $150, but can be $0

  • Injected by a doctor or nurse, or yourself at home

  • Get it every 3 months

The shot doesn’t protect you from STDs. Use a condom with the shot to help stop pregnancy and STDs.
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