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FERTILITY AFTER USING DEPO PROVERA (ALSO KNOWN AS “THE SHOT”)

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…

  1. Return to fertility may be delayed after stopping Depo Provera.
  2. 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.
  3. The persistence of ovulation suppression following Depo Provera discontinuation is not related to the duration of use, but is related to weight.
  4. 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.

[Side note: Some women DO NOT have a delay in the return to fertility; therefore, if you miss your Depo Provera shot, don’t assume you won’t get pregnant.] #DrNita

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