With each and every method of birth control there comes the possibility for error. While this error may be only a 1% shot in the dark, it does still exist. With that being said the only true method of birth control that is 100% effective and which leaves no possibility for conception is complete abstinence. However, this is not a realistic measure for many people and for this reason it is important to look at other ways of protecting yourself against pregnancy. There are many forms of birth control and each carries its own set of benefits and risks. Today we are talking specifically about Depo-Provera, a birth control injection that works for a period of three months at a time. This injection stops ovulation in its tracks and is therefore considered a very effective form of birth control. But it is important to stress that birth control injections are no different than any other method of birth control in that there is still always that underlying risk of pregnancy.
Unknown Pregnancy and Depo
In some cases a woman may actually become pregnant prior to receiving her first Depo shot. If she is unaware that she is pregnant then there is a very good chance that she will not realize it until something such as fetal movement alerts her to her condition. There is a very significant risk of premature birth in women who receive a Depo shot while pregnant and then continue the pregnancy to full term. This is why many doctors do a routine pregnancy test before giving a woman her first Depo shot. If you are concerned that there may be a chance that you have become pregnant or even if you have been sexually active prior to getting a Depo shot, you may want to request an initial pregnancy test just to be certain. Depo is known for being one of the most reliable methods of birth control available. This is because of the slow release of the hormone progestin and the long term effects it has for contraception.
How Is the Depo Shot Given?
Depo-Provera, a hormone injection is given to women once about every 12 weeks and works by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg. This injection does not contain estrogen like some other methods of birth control on the market. The typical site for a Depo shot is either in the upper arm, the buttocks or the thigh. It is an intramuscular shot so it must be given in an area of the body with a large enough muscle to process it through. There is a subQ injection that is offered in some countries as well. This shot is given under the skin and is said to carry a lower chance of pain at the injection site. Any woman who begins a regimen of Depo must be fully aware of when her next shot is due in order to reap the full benefits of birth control offered by this injection.
Depo Is Not for Potential Mothers
If you are looking for a method of birth control which is fully and easily reversible, Depo is not the option that is recommended for you. This is because it can take a year or longer for your body to become ready to conceive again after taking Depo-Provera. In fact, in some rare cases taking Depo shots could lead to permanent infertility so it is very important that you choose wisely if you believe you may someday want to become pregnant. Depo shots are primarily intended for older women who have already given birth to all the children they want to have or for women who never intend to have children. It is imperative that you take all the time you need to make a good decision as there is a chance it could be one that will last for a period of years or even for a lifetime. Keep in mind that this particular risk is very rare but it deserves a mention as it is such a major one. Some women who have used Depo for two years or more never begin their menstrual cycle again.
Almost all forms of hormone related birth control methods come with a chance of weight gain during use. There is a slight concern with Depo as many women do realize a small amount of weight gain during the first year but that weight gain is not very significant, only at approximately 5 pounds. Of course, every woman is different and some could gain more weight than that. No matter what type of oral or injectable birth control you are using, you should always alert your doctor if there is ever an issue with substantial weight gain that seems to have no other explanation. Obviously, weight gain can occur for a number of factors including lifestyle change and other physiological changes within our bodies. There is also a slight chance of women who are taking Depo developing osteoporosis and so it is highly urged they take calcium supplements while using it.
In answer the original topic, there are many concerns when taking Depo and one of the smallest is that you will become pregnant when using it. There is almost no possibility of this occurring as long as you keep your shots current and do not miss any scheduled appointments. In order to ensure that you can bring your chances of getting pregnant down to 0% it is a great idea to add other secondary measures of birth control such as spermicidal foams and/or condoms. It is also very important to remember that Depo will in no way prevent you from contracting a sexually transmitted disease and so safe sex should never be eliminated from your contraceptive plan unless you are in a 100% monogamous relationship in which both partners are tested routinely. It only takes on mistake to become pregnant or to get a life changing illness so it is important that you not take sexual decisions lightly and that you are diligent in protecting yourself, both from pregnancy and disease.