What is Depo Provera and how does it work?
Depo Provera is a long-acting form of birth control. It is used to treat irregular periods (menstrual irregularities). It is given by injection (shot) into the muscle. It is slowly released over 12 weeks. It has a female hormone (progestin). This works by stopping the release of an egg each month.
Depo Provera follow up
You must go back to the clinic every 12 weeks to get your shot. You will not see a provider. A nurse will only be able to give you the shot. If you want to change to a different birth control, call the clinic at 319-356-2294. You will need to see a doctor.
See your doctor for your yearly exam and routine health care.
How is Depo Provera used?
The shots are given in the hip every 12 weeks. It may be given earlier than 12 weeks if you cannot make your next appointment at the scheduled time.
If you do not get your shot every 12 weeks, you are at higher risk of getting pregnant.
How well does Depo Provera work?
Less than 1 out of 100 users become pregnant during the first year of use. This means it works as well as birth control pills and getting your tubes tied.
- Ease of use.
- You get a shot every 12 weeks instead of taking a pill each day or using something each time you have sex.
- It works well if you get your shots on time.
- If the first shot is given during your period, the birth control works within 24 hours.
- If you are not having your period, a pregnancy test will be done. Then, you must use backup birth control for 3 weeks.
- You can become pregnant again after stopping the shots.
- It can be used by people who cannot take estrogen. This is the hormone in most birth control pills.
- Studies show there is no greater risk for breast, ovarian, liver, or cervical cancer. It lowers the risk of cancer of the uterus.
- It is safe to use while breastfeeding.
- It will not change the quantity or quality of milk.
- It will not harm your baby.
- The shot can be given the first few days after childbirth.
- You can have irregular bleeding (mostly spotting) the first year of use. The bleeding lessens over time. After 1 year, half of the people using this method will stop having periods.
- Fertility may take a while to come back after shots are stopped. Most people who want to become pregnant will be within 6 to 8 months after the last shot. It rarely takes longer than 1 year.
- Your bone mineral density can decrease. This can also happen when you are pregnant or breastfeeding. When you stop the shots, bone density returns to normal.
- Be sure to get adequate calcium and Vitamin D.
- Do weight bearing exercise.
- Weight gain.
- You may gain 5 to 10 pounds over each year of use. This happens most often for people who eat high fat diets or who do not exercise.
- It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Use condoms to lower your risk of STIs.
- Rare side effects are:
- Breast tenderness
- Feeling dizzy
- Feeling more tired than normal
- Feeling nervous
- Lower sex drive
- Are pregnant or think you might be pregnant
- Have irregular vaginal bleeding that has not been checked health care provider
- Have certain types of liver disease
- Have had breast cancer
The Obstetrics Gynecology Clinic at 319-356-2294 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
For urgent questions or concerns
Call toll-free at 800-777-8442, 24 hours a day
Ask for the gynecology resident on call.
You may be asked some questions when using the toll-free number.