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Updated: APRIL 20, 2020

Depo-Provera is the name of an injectable form of birth control used by some women to prevent pregnancy. It contains the hormone progestin. It prevents eggs from leaving the ovaries and thickens the cervical mucus to form a barrier which prevents sperm from entering the uterus. A doctor injects the hormone shot into a woman's arm or buttocks to prevent pregnancy for three months.

Depo-Provera is also known as the birth control shot or by the name of the medicine the shot contains: DMPA. Some people also shorten its name to Depo.


More About Depo-Provera

Most women can safely receive the Depo-Provera shot. However, pregnant women, women with liver disease, breast cancer, blood clots, unexplained vaginal bleeding, and women taking aminoglutethamide to treat Cushing's syndrome should not use this birth control. Adolescents and women with osteoporosis should seek medical advice before choosing this birth control method.

The Depo-Provera shot works immediately if administered within the first five days of a woman's period. It has been shown to prevent pregnancy for between 12 to 14 weeks. However, women should get another shot every 12 weeks for reliable protection. If administered regularly, it is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. Women may fall pregnant within three to four months of ceasing Depo-Provera shots.

It is uncommon for women to experience any negative side effects after receiving the Depo-Provera shot. Most women notice they have lighter and fewer periods. However, some women may have headaches, nervousness, depression, acne, weight gain, and other unusual side effects.

Many women like Depo-Provera because it provides long-term protection. It's a good option for people who forget to take the pill or find it inconvenient to use a barrier method before sex. It's also more affordable than some other contraception options including birth control pills.

It's important to note that the Depo-Provera shot does not protect against the spread of sexually transmitted infections. For this reason, it should only be used by women in committed relationships or as a back-up contraception used with condoms.

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