What is it?
The birth control implant, or the Implant for short, is a small flexible rod (about the size of a matchstick) that is inserted under the skin in the upper arm. It releases the hormone progestin into the body to protect against pregnancy for up to three years by making it hard for sperm to enter the uterus to reach an egg.
Your healthcare provider may talk to you about the implant as an effective way to prevent pregnancy. You might hear it called a brand name, like Nexplanon.
What are some advantages?
- The implant is super effective (99%) in preventing pregnancy.
- It is easy to use and it works no matter what.
- You don’t have to worry about using it incorrectly or remembering it.
- It may be left in place up to three years.
- It is private and hidden (but you may be able to feel it by touching your skin over the implant).
- It can be inserted right after an abortion, a miscarriage, or childbirth and while breastfeeding.
- It does not interfere with sex or daily activities.
- Some people have less period pain while using the implant.
- It is reversible. If you wish to become pregnant or if you want to stop using it, you can simply have the implant removed.
What are some disadvantages?
- The implant does not protect against STDs; use a condom every time you have sex to prevent STDs.
- It may cause irregular bleeding, spotting, heavy periods, or no period at all.
- Some people have other, more rare, but serious side effects. You should discuss these with your healthcare provider.
Where and how do you get it?
A healthcare provider inserts the implant into the skin in your arm during a procedure that takes only a few minutes. The area is numbed but no incision is made. To remove the implant, your healthcare provider numbs the area and makes a small incision to take it out.