I recently met a very nice lady who wanted to conceive. She excitedly told me about all of the things she had done over the past year to improve her health in preparation: Exercising in the park, taking the stairs at work, replacing fast food with healthier home-cooked meals, taking Prenatal Vitamins, etc. Then, she said, “Yep, I got my last Depo Provera shot three months ago. We are ready to start trying today!. . .”
Depo Provera (also known as “the shot”) is a contraceptive injected into a woman’s arm or buttocks once every three months. Depo Provera prevents against pregnancy in multiple ways: it suppresses ovulation, makes the inside lining of the uterus less receptive to implantation, makes the cervical mucus thicker and less permeable to sperm, and decreases tubal motility. While it is a very effective, convenient birth control method, you should consider these facts if you are thinking of having a baby in the near future:
Depo Provera DOES NOT permanently impact your ability to have a baby, but…
- Return to fertility may be delayed after stopping Depo Provera.
- Within 10 months of the last injection, 50 percent of women who discontinue Depo Provera to become pregnant will conceive. However, in a small proportion of women, fertility is not reestablished until 18 months after the last injection.
- The persistence of ovulation suppression following Depo Provera discontinuation is not related to the duration of use, but is related to weight.
- Women with lower body weights conceive sooner after discontinuing Depo Provera than women with higher body weights.
In summary, Depo Provera is a great birth control option for some patients; however, if you are considering pregnancy within the next one or two years, ask your doctor about other birth control options.