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Injectable Contraception

What is injectable contraception?

Injectable contraception is birth control medicine that is given as a shot. This medicine helps prevent pregnancy.

What are the kinds of injectable contraception?

  • Medroxyprogesterone acetate: This is given once every 12 weeks on day 1 to 5 of your menstrual cycle. This type of shot may decrease blood loss and pain during your period. It also decreases your risk of having anemia (low red blood cell count).

  • Noresthisterone enantate: This is given to protect you for 8 weeks. It is used if your partner has had a recent vasectomy and you are waiting for it to heal.

When can I start to use injectable contraception?

Your caregiver will tell you when you can start injectable contraception. You may need to use a different method of contraception until the shots take effect. You may need blood or urine tests before you start this medicine. You may use this method in any of the following situations:

  • During your menstrual cycle: If you have regular menstrual cycles, you should get your first shot within 7 days after your cycle starts. Those with irregular bleeding or no periods may have the shot any time.

  • When you switch methods of contraception: You may need added protection when you switch from one method of contraception to another.

  • After you give birth: If you are breastfeeding, the first shot is given between 6 weeks and 6 months after you give birth. If you are not breastfeeding, you may have the shot any time.

What are the risks of injectable contraception?

Injectable contraception does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. You may have headaches or changes in your mood. You may have heavy periods or periods that last longer than normal for you. Your periods may stop completely. You may have an upset stomach. You can develop brittle bones and be at higher risk for a fracture. You may gain weight.

How can I care for myself while I use injectable contraception?

  • Do not smoke: If you smoke, it is never too late to quit. You are more likely to have a blood clot, heart disease, lung disease, and cancer if you smoke. You will improve your health and the health of those around you if you quit. If you smoke, ask for information about how to stop.

  • Increase your daily intake of calcium: This will make your bones stronger and help prevent fractures. Foods rich in calcium include milk, yogurt, and cheese.

  • Exercise regularly: This will build bone and muscle strength and help prevent fractures. Ask your caregiver about exercises that are right for you.

When should I contact my caregiver?

Contact your caregiver if:

  • Your period lasts longer than is normal for you.

  • You do not get a period.

  • You have questions or concerns about injectable contraceptives.

When should I seek immediate help?

Seek help immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have heavy vaginal bleeding.

  • You had unprotected sex before you have your shots.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

© 2015 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.