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The birth control shot is safe and convenient. However, there are some disadvantages and side effects.

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You have to get an injection every 3 months.

You have to go to a doctor's office or health center every 3 months for your injection. Or you may be able to get a supply of shots at the health center to bring home and give yourself every 3 months. Either way, the shot only works if you get it on time, so it's important to stay on schedule. You can use our birth control app to keep track of your next shot day and set reminders for upcoming appointments.

If you live far from a health center, or if you just have a really busy life and think you won’t stay on top of getting your follow-up shots, some other birth control methods might be a better fit for you. IUDs and implants are methods that you don’t need to think about once you get them put in.

There can be negative side effects while you use the shot.

Like all medicines, there can be side effects with the shot. But lots of people adjust to the shot with no problems. Many negative side effects usually go away after 2-3 months, once your body gets used to the shot. You can use our birth control app to keep track of the side effects you may be having. 

Most people on the shot have some change in their periods, including bleeding more days than usual, spotting between periods, or no periods.  This is most common during the first year. Other possible side effects include nausea, weight gain, headaches, sore breasts, or depression. You may also get slight bruising where you got the shot, or rarely, a small, permanent dent.

Lots of people who use the shot stop getting their period altogether after about a year of using it. Like all the side effects of the shot, this goes away after you stop getting the shot. Your period should go back to normal within a few months after your last shot wears off.

Birth control shouldn’t make you feel bad. Luckily, there are many different types of birth control, so you’ve got options. If you keep having side effects that bother you, talk with your nurse or doctor about trying another birth control method.

It may take up to 10 months after stopping the birth control shot to get pregnant.

It only takes 15 weeks after your last shot for pregnancy protection to wear off. How soon you get pregnant after stopping the depo shot is different for everyone. For some people it can take up to 10 months for their ability to get pregnant to return to normal and for others it can happen much sooner.

Your first period after stopping the depo provera shot can take several months to return. It can also take time for your period to go back to the way it was before you started using the shot. Everyone’s body is different, and reacts to going off the shot differently, so there’s no way to know when you will get your period back after your last depo shot. It’s possible to get pregnant before your period returns, so use another method of birth control if you don’t want to get pregnant after stopping the depo shot.

More questions from patients:

What happens when you stop getting the depo shot?

After you stop using the shot, your body will eventually go back to the way it was before you started using it. And any Depo side effects you may have had will fade.

It can take up to 10 months after your last shot wears off for your period to come back and for you to be able to get pregnant. But some people do get pregnant soon after stopping the shot — there’s no way to know how long it will take for you. So if you stop using the shot but don’t want to get pregnant, make sure to use another method of birth control — even if your periods haven’t gone back to normal yet.

Everyone’s body is different, and our bodies also change over time. So you can’t know exactly how yours will react to going off the shot. But eventually your body will get used to being off the hormones in the shot, and any changes that you may have experienced will go away.

If you’re worried about the side effects of going off the shot, talk with your nurse or doctor. They can help you feel prepared for the transition off of the shot.

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The Shot

  • 96% 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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