The Contraceptive implant

How effective is it?

Over 99 per cent effective.
Less than one woman in 1000 will get pregnant over three years.

How does it work?

A small flexible rod is put under the skin of the upper arm.
It releases the hormone progestogen.
It stops ovulation and thickens cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching an egg, and thins the lining of the uterus to prevent a fertilised egg implanting.


What are the advantages?

  • Works for three years but can be taken out sooner.
  • You do not have to think about contraception for as long as the implant is in place.
  • May alter periods: make periods stop, become lighter or less frequent.
  • When the implant is removed your fertility will return to normal.

What are the disadvantages?

  • May alter periods: can become irregular or become longer than usual.
  • Acne may occur or worsen.
  • Some women report having mood changes and breast tenderness.
  • It requires a small procedure to fit and remove it.


Anything else I should know?

  • Put in using a local anaesthetic and no stitches are needed.
  • Tenderness, bruising and some swelling may occur immediately after insertion.
  • You should feel the implant with your fingers, but it cannot be seen.
  • Some medicines may stop the implant from working.