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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. Take our quiz for help finding the birth control method that’s best for you.

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

Some people may get annoying side effects while using the birth control shot, but many of them usually go away after 2 or 3 months. Many people use the shot with no problems at all.

Most women 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.

Lots of people who use the shot stop getting their period altogether after about a year of using it. This, like all the side effects of the shot, 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.

Other possible side effects of the shot include:

  • nausea
  • weight gain
  • headaches
  • breast tenderness
  • depression
  • slight bruising where the shot was given
  • very rarely, a small, permanent dent in the skin where the shot was given

If you get any of these side effects and they really bother you, talk with your doctor or nurse.

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

If you decide that you want to get pregnant right away after you stop getting the shot, you should know the shot may delay your ability to get pregnant by up to 10 months. However, some people do get pregnant soon after stopping the shot.  There’s no way to know how long it will take for you.

More questions from patients:

What are the side effects after stopping the Depo Provera shot?

The side effects after stopping the Depo Provera shot are different for each person, just like the side effects of using it.

Here are some things you might experience:

  • Sore breasts

  • Changes to your period including irregular bleeding or not getting it back right away

  • Mood changes

  • Weight changes

  • Delayed return to fertility (up to 6-10 months)

  • Increased bone density

If you don’t want to get pregnant right away, go see a doctor or nurse before your last shot wears off. Though it takes many people months to start ovulating again after stopping Depo, some people can get pregnant right away.

If your side effects after stopping the Depo Provera shot worry you or you’re struggling to get pregnant, check in with your doctor or nurse, or contact your local Planned Parenthood health center.

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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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