Birth Control Shot – How to do an Intramuscular Contraceptive Injection of Depo Provera

The birth control shot (Depo Provera) is a contraceptive injection that is administered into the upper arm, thigh, or buttocks to prevent pregnancy. Each shot consists of long acting reversible progestin that can provide effective contraception for 3 months so you only need four birth control injections in a year.

Birth control shot came to the US market in 1993 and is marketed under the brand name Depo Provera or DMPA which is the name of the long acting reversible progestin. Currently Depo Provera is the only form of birth control injection available in the United States.

How it Works

Birth control injection is available by prescription only and you will need to visit your health care practitioner for medical exam and to get a prescription. A doctor or nurse will administered the injection into the upper arm, thigh, or buttocks and you will have to visits your health care practitioner every 3 months to get the injection.

Administering birth control injection depends on your menstrual cycle. If you get your first shot within 5 days after your menstrual cycle begins you are protected immediately otherwise you should use backup method for the extra protection.

The original Depo Provera consists of 150mg DMPA is injected into the muscle but the new version called the Depo-subQ Provera 104 consists of lower dosage 104mg DMPA-SC which is a subcutaneous formula that can be injected under the skin instead of into the muscle.

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The subcutaneous injection used smaller gage needle which is less painful and easier to administer than the original which used longer gage needle to inject into the muscle. This new form of injection consists of less progestin to minimize the side effects and provide effective protection similar to the original version.

Depo-subQ Provera 104 came to the market in 2005 as the new version of birth control injection and it can also be used as a treatment to relief pain caused by endometriosis.

The progestin from the injection work by preventing ovaries from releasing eggs and pregnancy cannot happen without egg fertilization. The progestin also thickens the mucus layer in the cervix which blocks sperm from entering into the uterus. The progestin also thins the lining of the uterus which can reduce the chance of pregnancy by preventing released egg from attaching to the uterus.


Birth control shot is safe and easy to use as you only required one injection every 3 months and you don’t have to worry about missed pills. Birth control injection is convenient because it provides effective protection for 3 months and you can engage in spontaneous sexual activity without the fear of pregnancy.

The new version consists of lower dosage of progestin to minimize possible side effects and women who are sensitive to estrogen can take the shot without estrogen related side effects.

Contraceptive injection is a private method of birth control because you don’t have to keep any supply at home and you don’t have visible patch on your body. Contraceptive injection can also help to reduce the risk of endometrial, ovarian and uterine cancers.


Birth control shot does not provide full protection against sexually transmitted diseases. You have to visit your health care practitioner every 3 months to get the injection and if you are late for the injection you could become pregnant.

Some of the more common side effects may include irregular bleeding, heavy bleeding, prolonged bleeding, or no bleeding at all and these side effects decreases after 12 months of use. Other possible side effects may also include weight gain, headaches, dizziness, breast tenderness, depression, and mood swing.

Contraceptive injection should not be used for more than 2 years in a row as this can cause bone loss and increase the risk of osteoporosis. It can take up to 1 to 2 years for the process to be reversed after your last injection if you decide to get pregnant. You should not use contraceptive injection if you want to get pregnant quickly in the future because this process will be delayed after discontinuing using injections.

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