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Contraceptive injection

About the injection

If used correctly, the contraceptive injection is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. It lasts for 13 weeks (or eight weeks depending on the type), so you don't have to think about contraception every day or every time you have sex.

The injection can be useful for women who might forget to take the contraceptive pill every day and for those who can't use contraception that contains oestrogen. It's not affected by medication.

There are three types of injection:

  • DepoProvera - usually given into a muscle in your bottom, although sometimes it may be given in the muscle in your upper arm.
  • Sayana Press - usually given under the skin in your stomach or thigh. You might be able to give this injection yourself at home.
  • Noristerat is not commonly used in the UK and protects you for eight weeks.

Side effects can include weight gain, headaches, mood swings and breast tenderness. Your periods will probably change - most often periods stop completely. Some women will have irregular periods or spotting (bleeding between periods) and a few will have periods that last longer and are heavier.

It can take up to one year for your fertility to return to normal after the injection wears off, so it may not be suitable if you want to have a baby in the near future.

The injection does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). By using condoms as well as the injection, you'll help to protect yourself against STIs.

How the injection works

If you have the injection during the first five days of your cycle, you will be immediately protected against becoming pregnant.  If you have the injection on any other day of your cycle, you will not be protected against pregnancy for up to seven days. Use condoms or another method of contraception during this time.

Where you can get the contraceptive injection

If you think the injection is the right contraception choice, you can:

If you need to bring your child/children with you to your appointment we recommend you bring another adult with you to care for them.

*Our walk-in and wait clinics offer limited slots and operate on a first come first served basis. When clinics are at full capacity, patients asking to be seen will be triaged and those who fit our urgent criteria will be a priority. At busy times we may need to signpost non-urgent cases to other clinics or recommend patients make an appointment for an alternative day or suggest a return visit.

More information

Visit NHS Choices - Contraceptive injection

Download the Family Planning Association’s Your guide to the contraceptive injection.