PWH Fertility Evaluations

Birth Control Injections: What You Need to Know

Sep 16, 2020
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Are you thinking about birth control and wondering which method is right for you? Birth control injections deliver hormones into your body without the need to take a daily pill. Here’s what you need to know about this reversible, injectable option.

Are you a sexually active woman who wants to prevent pregnancy? Then contraception is a must. And if you’re looking for a contraceptive method that’s safe, effective, and doesn’t require daily pills, birth control injections could be the right option for you.

Board-certified OB/GYN Asia Mohsin, MD, and the rest of our care team at Progressive Women’s Health in Friendswood, Texas, know that choosing contraception is an important part of health care. Dr. Mohsin will explain your options and work with you to help you determine the method that’s a good fit for your lifestyle and health care needs.

Here’s what you need to know about one popular method of contraception: birth control injections.

What are birth control injections?

Birth control injections deliver shots of hormones into your bloodstream. There are different types of birth control injections, but the most widely used is Depo-Provera®. 

This type of injection uses progesterone hormones to help prevent pregnancy. The man-made hormones used in Depo-Provera stop ovulation and thicken your cervical mucus, helping to ensure you don’t get pregnant. 

Each injection of Depo-Provera lasts about 12 weeks, so you’ll need to visit Dr. Mohsin for a new shot every three months to have continuous pregnancy protection.

Are birth control injections effective?

When used as designed with injections every three months, birth control injections are about 99% effective. However, because this schedule isn’t always kept, the real-life experience of women is about 94% in effectiveness. In other words, about 6 women out of every 100 who get the shot become pregnant. Male condoms, by comparison, have a real-life effectiveness rate of about 87%.  

What are the pros and cons of birth control injections?

Every method of birth control has advantages and disadvantages, and birth control injections are no different. Here are some of the pros and cons of this method of birth control:

Pros of birth control injections

  • An effective and safe method of pregnancy prevention
  • Convenient, requiring only four shots each year
  • May help with problem periods (light or no periods; less cramping)
  • Decreased risk of endometrial cancer

Cons of birth control injections

  • No protection against sexually transmitted diseases
  • You must visit the doctor every 12 weeks
  • May take longer to get pregnant after stopping use
  • Long-term use may cause thinning bones
  • Has the same side effects as other hormonal birth control methods (breast tenderness, spotting between periods, weight gain, and headaches)

Are birth control injections safe for everyone?

Birth control injections can be used by many women, but not every woman is a candidate. You shouldn’t use birth control shots if you:

  • Have had or currently have breast cancer
  • Have osteoporosis or fragile bones
  • Take certain medications, such as aminoglutethimide
  • Have a history of depression
  • Have a history of liver disease, heart disease, or stroke

How can I learn more about birth control injections?

Talking to a trusted provider, such as Dr. Mohsin, is the best way to learn more about birth control injections and other methods of contraception. It’s important to get information, advice, and guidance from a reproductive health expert to ensure your needs are met. 

Choosing a method of birth control is a highly personal choice dependent on many factors related to your health, preferences, and lifestyle. Dr. Mohsin will take the time to listen to your concerns, answer any questions you have, and help guide you in determining the right option for you. 

Are you ready to learn more about birth control injections or other methods of contraception? Dr. Mohsin and her team at Progressive Women’s Health can help you. To learn more, book an appointment online or over the phone. We also offer convenient telemedicine appointments.