August 22, 2017

The Shot

The shot is just that—a shot that prevents pregnancy. Once you get it, it lasts for three months. The shot contains the hormone progestin that prevents ovulation and thickens cervical mucus.


  • 94% effective!
  • You only need to remember to get it once every three months.
  • Doesn’t affect your ability to get pregnant after you stop using it.

How to Use It

There’s not that much to it—you just go to the clinic, have an exam, and get the shot. You do have to make sure to keep regular appointments once every three months to get another shot. Your doctor or nurse practitioner may ask about the timing of your period to determine how soon you’ll be protected after the shot. Also, getting your shots on time is extremely important. If you are two weeks or more overdue, you may be required to take a pregnancy test before the shot.

Side Effects

Pros Cons
  • Easy to use
  • Doesn’t interrupt the heat of the moment
  • Super private—no one will know unless you tell them
  • You don’t have to worry about remembering to take it every day
  • Might give you shorter, lighter periods—or no periods at all
  • Your birth control is taken care of for 3 months at a time
  • Can be used by women who can’t take estrogen
  • It’s very effective at preventing pregnancy—if you get the shots on time
  • You can use it while you’re breastfeeding


Most Common:

  • Irregular bleeding, especially for the first 6-12 months (This could mean longer, heavier periods, or spotting in between periods.)
  • Change in appetite or weight gain (It’s common for some women to gain around 5 pounds in the first year, while other women gain nothing.)

Less Common:

  • A change in your sex drive
  • Depression
  • Hair loss or more hair on your face or body
  • Nervousness or dizziness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Sore breasts