The contraceptive implant is a small, flexible plastic tube, 40mm long, which is placed just under the skin in the upper arm. It releases the hormone progestogen to control your fertility. It is inserted by a trained doctor or nurse and lasts for three years.
The implant stops the release of an egg from the ovary by slowly releasing progestogen into your body. Progestogen also thickens the cervical mucus and thins the womb lining. This makes it harder for sperm to meet an egg, and less likely for your womb to accept a fertilised egg.
Do you know?
- The contraceptive implant is over 99% effective
- It’s a long acting reversible method of contraception (LARC)
- It’s useful for women who find it difficult to take the pill everyday
- The implant does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) so you will need to use condoms as well
Who can use the implant?
Most women can be fitted with the contraceptive implant. It may not be suitable if you:
- think you might be pregnant
- want to keep having regular periods
- have bleeding in between periods or after sex
- have arterial disease or a history of heart disease or stroke
- have a blood clot in a blood vessel (thrombosis)
- have liver disease
- have migraines
- have breast cancer or have had it in the past
- have diabetes with complications
- have cirrhosis or liver tumours
- are at risk of osteoporosis
After having a baby
You can have the contraceptive implant fitted immediately after you have given birth. It is also safe to use the implant while you are breastfeeding.
After a miscarriage or abortion
The implant can be fitted immediately after a miscarriage or an abortion, and you will be protected against pregnancy straight away.
- It doesn’t interrupt sex
- It works for up to three years
- Your fertility returns to normal as soon as its removed
- There is no evidence it causes additional weight gain
- Some medicines reduce the implants effectiveness
- It may disrupt your bleeding patterns making them irregular or stop altogether
- It’s common to experience temporary side effects during the first few months, such as headaches, breast tenderness and mood swings
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