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Nexplanon is the brand name, but the birth control implant is a tiny rod that's inserted under the skin of your upper arm. It works for years, and once you get it, you don't have to think about it. It can also be removed at any time. Before you get the implant, it's important to know the most common benefits, risks, side effects and other birth control choices out there. Our staff is happy to answer any questions you may have.

What is the implant?

Also known as Nexplanon, the implant is a thin, matchstick-sized rod that goes under the skin of your arm. It is made of plastic and the hormone progestin, which is very similar to the hormone progesterone made in your body. This hormone keeps you from getting pregnant in two ways:

  1. It keeps eggs from leaving the ovaries.
  2. It makes cervical mucus thicker, which makes it harder for sperm to get to the eggs.

The implant lasts for up to four years.


What are the benefits of the implant?

There's nothing you have to do before sex to make the implant work. The ability to get pregnant comes back quickly after removing the implant. The implant also protects you from:

  • Pregnancy in the fallopian tubes, also known as a tubal pregnancy
  • Bad cramps


How well does the implant work?

For every 100 people who use the implant for a year, only one of them will get pregnant.


What are the risks of using the implant?

When using the birth control implant, you may get:

  • Discoloring or a scar on your arm where the implant goes in
  • Rarely, arm pain for longer than a few days
  • Rarely, an infection or pain in the arm that needs medicine
  • Very rarely, an implant may move from the place where it was put in

What are the side effects of the implant?

After the implant is inserted, you may have:

  • Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach) - usually clears up in two or three months
  • Sore breasts - usually clears up in two or three months
  • Headaches
  • Irregular bleeding - including early or late periods, spotting between periods, or no periods
  • Weight gain
  • Soreness, bruising, or swelling for a few days after the implant is put in


Besides the implant, what other birth control choices do I have?

There are many other methods of birth control. We can talk about any of these options with you, and help you with whatever you decide to choose. You can also choose the implant and then switch to another option later.


Can I use the implant?

People who can get pregnant, but have certain health problems, can't use the implant. Talk with your doctor or nurse about your risks and health problems. They can help you decide if the implant is right for you, and if not, what birth control options may be right for you.


How is the implant put in?

The skin of your upper arm is made numb with a shot of numbing medicine. Then, a doctor or nurse places the rod just under the skin through a needle. The whole process takes a few minutes.

The best time to have the implant inserted is when you are sure you are not pregnant. You may be told to use a backup method of brith control for seven days after your implant is put in.


How is the implant taken out?

The implant can be taken out any time you want. It must be removed by a doctor or nurse. It takes longer to remove than to put in, and it may be harder to take out than to insert.

Planned Parenthood does both implant insertions and removals. You do not have to have gotten your implant at Planned Parenthood in order for it to be removed.


What else do I need to know about the implant birth control?

The implant may not work as well for those who are taking certain other medications, such as herbals like St. John's wort and some that are used for tuberculosis, seizures, mental health issues or HIV/AIDS.

The implant may also affect other medicines you are taking. Always tell your doctor or nurse about your prescriptions.

The implant does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections.

You will be given instructions on caring for yourself after your implant is put in and information on when to come back to us if you're having a problem.

Some of our health centers may be able to provide the implant for free or for lower cost. Please give us a call at 314-531-7526 for details.