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Health Information For Parents
The birth control shot is an injection given to a girl every 3 months to help prevent pregnancy. The birth control shot contains a long acting form of the hormone progestin.
The hormone progestin in the birth control shot works by preventing ovulation (the release of an egg during the monthly cycle). If a girl doesn’t ovulate, she cannot get pregnant because there is no egg to be fertilized.
The progestin also thickens the mucus around the cervix. This makes it hard for sperm to enter the uterus and reach any eggs that may have been released. The progestin also thins the lining of the uterus so that an egg will have a hard time attaching to the wall of the uterus.
The birth control shot is an effective birth control method. Over the course of a year, about 6 out of 100 typical couples who use the birth control shot will have an accidental pregnancy. The chance of getting pregnant increases if a girl waits longer than 3 months to get her next shot.
In general, how well each type of birth control method works depends on a lot of things. These include whether a person has any health conditions or is taking any medicines that might affect its use. It also depends on whether the method is convenient and whether the person remembers to use it correctly all of the time.
No. The birth control shot does not protect against STDs. In fact, some studies show that the birth control shot may possibly increase the risk of getting some STDs, although scientists do not understand why.
Couples having sex must always use condoms along with the shot to protect against STDs.
Many girls who use the birth control shot will notice a change in their periods. Side effects that some girls have include:
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a safety warning about the use of the birth control shot. Studies link this shot to a loss of bone density in women, although bone density may recover when a woman is no longer getting the shot. The loss of bone density seems to be worse when the shot is used for longer periods of time.
Doctors are not sure how this type of shot may affect the bone density of teen girls in the future, though. Girls who are considering the shot should talk to their doctors about it and make sure that they get enough calcium each day. Those who smoke should be sure to let their doctors know because smoking may be connected to this bone density loss.
Women may notice a decrease in fertility for up to a year after they stop getting the birth control shot. However, the shot does not cause permanent loss of fertility and most women can get pregnant after they stop getting the shot.
Girls who have trouble remembering to take birth control pills and who want extremely good protection against pregnancy may want to use the birth control shot. Also, nursing mothers can use the birth control shot.
Not all girls can — or should — use the birth control shot. Some medical conditions make the use of the shot less effective or more risky. For example, it is not recommended for girls who have had blood clots, some types of cancers, or liver disease. Girls who have had unexplained vaginal bleeding (bleeding that is not during their periods) or who might be pregnant should not get the birth control shot and should talk to their doctors.
The shot must be prescribed and is given every 3 months in a doctor’s office or family planning clinic.
Each injection (3 months’ worth of birth control) costs between $0 and about $150. Many health insurance plans cover the cost of birth control shots, as well as the cost of the doctor’s visit. Family planning clinics (such as Planned Parenthood) may charge less.
Someone using the birth control shot should call the doctor if she:
Talking to your kids about sex can be a challenge. But discussing issues like birth control can help lower teens’ risk of unintended pregnancy or getting an STD.
Some birth control methods work better than others. This chart compares how well different birth control methods work.
Parents should learn about the most common STDs, how they spread, and how they’re diagnosed and treated.
Answering kids’ questions about sex is a responsibility many parents dread. But by answering these questions honestly, parents can help foster healthy feelings about sex.
Before you consider having sex, you need to know how to protect yourself. Read this article about the birth control shot and find out how it works – and how well.
Find out what the experts have to say.
Before you consider having sex, you need to know how to protect yourself. Read this article to get the basics on birth control.
The idea of going to the gynecologist may make your daughter feel nervous. Here’s how to make her feel more comfortable about a well-woman visit.
Note: All information is for educational purposes only. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, consult your doctor.
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