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The One-Shot Deal: Depo-Provera

What is Depo-Provera?
How does Depo-Provera work?
How reliable is Depo-Provera?
How do you take Depo-Provera?
Why would I want to take Depo-Provera?
What are the side effects of Depo-Provera?
Why wouldn't I want to take Depo-Provera?
Does Depo-Provera prevent sexually transmitted diseases?
How do I know if Depo-Provera is right for me?

What is Depo-Provera?
Depo-Provera is a type of birth control that regulates your hormones. It prevents you from ovulating so you can't get pregnant. back to top

How does Depo-Provera work?
Depo-Provera is given as a shot. The hormone slowly goes into your body over 12 weeks. One injection can keep you from getting pregnant for 3 months or more. back to top

How reliable is Depo-Provera?
Depo-Provera is a really reliable form of birth control. It's 99.7% effective. The rate is so high because the hormone in Depo-Provera is great at preventing ovulation. Once you get the shot, you don't have to do anything else to keep from getting pregnant. If you use Depo-Provera and you get the shots on time, your birth control method is working constantly. back to top

How do you take Depo-Provera?
Every 3 months, you'll get a shot of Depo-Provera. When you start Depo-Provera, you should get your first dose during your period. You should also have a pregnancy test to be sure that you're not pregnant before you start using it.

Once you start using Depo-Provera, you have to get the shots every 3 months. If you don't, you could get pregnant because there's not enough of the medication in your body to prevent you from ovulating.

If you haven't had an injection for 14 weeks or more, and you want to keep using Depo-Provera, you'll need to have a pregnancy test before you get another shot. If you're pregnant and you use Depo-Provera, it could lead to birth defects. back to top

Why would I want to take Depo-Provera?
  • It works great to prevent pregnancy.
  • It's very easy to use.
  • It has no estrogen in it. Depo-Provera is a good form of birth control for those who are breastfeeding and others who cannot take estrogen. back to top
What are the side effects of Depo-Provera?
Many girls and women who take Depo-Provera have irregular periods and they get some bleeding between periods. Other side effects that might happen include:
  • headaches
  • less interest in sex
  • depression
  • hair loss
  • weight gain
Depo-Provera is a completely reversible form of birth control. That means you haven't done anything permanent to keep you from getting pregnant. So if you don't want to use it anymore, it's no problem to stop. But some girls find that after they stop Depo-Provera, it can take months before their periods are normal again. back to top

Why wouldn't I want to take Depo-Provera?
Depo-Provera is a great form of birth control because it works really well and it's easy to use. But it may take a while for your period to return after using it. back to top

Does Depo-Provera prevent sexually transmitted diseases?
Depo-Provera can't prevent sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.If you use Depo-Provera, you must also use condoms to avoid getting a sexually transmitted disease. back to top

How do I know if Depo-Provera is right for me?
Depo-Provera can be a great method of birth control for girls because it works so well and it's so easy to use. But there's a lot to think about before you make the decision to use it. There are advantages (how easy it is) and disadvantages (the side effects). Talk with your health professional to get some advice before you decide if Depo-Provera is the birth control you want to use. back to top

Learn more about:

Safe Sex
Birth control pills
Last Modified Date: 3/28/2001
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