You might have heard in the last couple of days that some women have got pregnant over the last few years after using the Contraceptive Implant (also known until recently as Implanon). So I thought I’d re-assure my loyal readers (that’s you) that it is very effective and that you should not worry.
How does it work?
Well as my ‘Sexy Trump’ card shows above (from a new game I’ve been working on lately) the Implant is super effective. No method of contraception is 100%, but this one is pretty close. It is inserted under the skin under the arm at a clinic, by a specially trained nurse. It’s done under local anaesthetic which numbs the arm, a small incision is made and the implant is inserted.
The implant can stay in for up to 3 years. It slowly releases an extra amount of progestogen (a hormone which naturally occurs in females), which prevents pregnancy by preventing the womb lining from being created and by preventing sperm getting past the cervix. It is highly effective (more on this in a sec).
Some women love this method of contraception and others aren’t so keen (there is a progestogen pill which has a similar effect and can be taken before trying out the implant). Once in you don’t have to remember to do anything or take anything, it sits in the arm doing it’s job for up to 3 years.
Like all hormonal contraception, it can have some side effects for some women and these side effects can vary from woman to woman. Just because your Aunty got moody and spots on the Implant doesn’t mean that you will: ok?
It stays in for up to 3 years but can be taken out before then by your clinic if you want. It works as soon as it’s put in and you can get pregnant soon after it being taken out.
So what’s this I’m hearing in the news?
I’m afraid that many journalists aren’t that great at reporting about contraception and sex. Some women have become pregnant and some journalists have said that 584 women got pregnant using the Implant. However they don’t tell you that the number of women using the Implant in the UK is between 800,000 and 1.4 million. This means that the Implant is still way over 99% effective. Also many of these women may have been pregnant before the Implant was fitted or had their Implant fitted incorrectly. See this post from my chum and all round sexpert Dr Petra for more on this.
So the Implant is very very effective. Ok? If you are concerned about the very small risk of pregnancy from the Implant (less than 1%, possibly much lower) then as well as being on the Implant you could use condoms too and/or avoid penis in vagina sex or avoid ejaculation inside the vagina.
If you are concerned and you’ve had the implant fitted then you can go back to the clinic or GP where you got it and chat to a nurse. The advice seems to be, ‘if you can feel it, it’s fine’. You can see what Brook have to say about it here and the FPA here
If you are a practitioner and you would like to print out a factsheet to give out in clinics then click this image below.
© Bish Training, 2010 all images and text