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Women have numerous options when it comes to birth control. Many women choose Depo-Provera, simply known as depo, over other methods because it’s simple and convenient. With depo, you never have to worry about taking a pill each day.
What is Depo-Provera? Can you get pregnant on the depo shot?
We’ll answer all of these questions and more, so you can make an informed decision on your birth control method.
What Is the Depo Shot?
The depo shot is a method of contraception for women. The shot contains a hormone that is similar to progesterone.
The shot can only be administered by your doctor, and is injected in the buttocks or arm. Shots are effective for 12-14 weeks, but women are advised to get the shot every 12 weeks for maximum protection.
Depo-Provera can start working immediately if you get the shot within the first five days of your period.
As a hormonal contraceptive, the depo shot suppresses ovulation. It also makes the uterine lining and the cervix hostile to fertilized eggs and sperm. The shot contains a synthetic version of the progesterone hormone to prevent pregnancy.
The depo shot is fine for most women, but is not recommended for those with:
- Blood clots
- Breast cancer
- Unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Liver disease
Women with osteoporosis should be cautious about this method of birth control as it can contribute to bone loss. Other forms of contraception may be a better option for teens.
Can you get pregnant on the birth control shot?
Even though the birth control shot is pretty effective at preventing pregnancy, you can still get pregnant if you use it right. In perfect use, a birth control shot prevents pregnancy by 94%, but in typical use it’s only about 88% effective. If you get a birth control shot for one year, about 12 out of 100 women will get pregnant.
You should keep in mind that the birth control shot doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you’re sexually active, you should use condoms to reduce your risk of STIs.
Signs of Pregnancy After Depo
It’s hard to tell if you’re pregnant after receiving Depo-Provera because its side effects can mimic early pregnancy signs. Some women have found that the signs of pregnancy after Depo are pretty much the same as if you hadn’t been taking birth control:
- Missed period
- Tender breasts
- Mood swings
- Food aversions
- Frequent urination
11 Side Effects of the Depo Shot?
Depo-Provera is highly effective, but it can cause some side effects, including:
- Hair loss
- Irregular periods, or no periods at all
- Weight gain
- Changes in your appetite
- Loss of bone density
- Unwanted body and facial hair
Of all these possible side effects, changes in the menstrual cycle is the most common. Many women experience spotting or irregular bleeding. After one year, about half the women on this shot will stop getting their periods altogether.
The good news is that after you stop taking the shots, your periods should return to normal.
Weight gain is another common side effect. On average, women gain five pounds during the first year of using Depo-Provera.
How Effective Is the Depo Shot?
It’s possible, but highly unlikely. The depo shot is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, and only 3 in 1,000 women will get pregnant while using this method of contraception.
More often than not, the women who have gotten pregnant on depo likely conceived before the shot. There are potential risks with continuing the shots if you’re pregnant, such as premature birth, so women are advised to be on the lookout for early signs of pregnancy when using this form of birth control.
How to Get Pregnant On Depo
If you’re on depo, it’s important to remember that getting pregnant is highly unlikely unless you stop taking the shot. It makes little sense to continue getting depo shots if you plan on getting pregnant in the near future.
If you want to get pregnant while on this form of birth control, the first step is to stop getting the shots.
Second, it’s important to understand that the synthetic progesterone in the shot can remain in the body for up to one to two years.
Many women are able to get pregnant within three to four months of stopping the shot. For other women, it can take up to two years to conceive. The longer you’re on the shot, the longer it may take for your body’s cycle to return to normal.
If you’ve recently gotten a shot, and have decided that you want to conceive, do not get your next shot. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to get pregnant in the meantime. The hormones need to get out of your system and your cycle needs to return to normal before you can get pregnant. Depo-Provera prevents ovulation, which makes it impossible to get pregnant if the shot is working as intended. Although there is a slight chance that you could get pregnant, there is a risk that the pregnancy could be ectopic.
Many women who decide they want to conceive after getting a depo injection are very disappointed to learn that the hormonal effects of the shot last much longer than anticipated.
Is It Possible to Get Pregnant on Depo?
Yes, but again – it’s highly unlikely. Depo-Provera is a powerful form of birth control, and it’s highly effective. There is still a 1% chance that you could get pregnant, but the odds are against you. This is great news for couples who don’t to have children. However, if you decide that you want to conceive, you will need to stop getting the shots and wait for the effects of the birth control to wear off.