What is it?

The implant is a small (4cm), thin flexible rod that is placed under the skin of your inner, upper arm. It steadily releases a progestogen hormone into your bloodstream to prevent an egg being released (ovulation) to prevent pregnancy.

There is one type of contraceptive implant used in the UK called Nexplanon. A nurse or doctor fits the implant using a local anaesthetic to numb the area so that it doesn't hurt. Most women can feel the implant, but it can't be seen. You should always make sure you can feel the implant directly after it has been fitted.

How effective is it?

The implant is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. This means that less than 1 out of 100 women who use the implant will become pregnant in a year.

What are the advantages?

  • It's very useful for women who know they don't want to get pregnant for a while. Once the implant is in place, you don't have to think about contraception for three years
  • It's useful for women who find it difficult to take a pill every day
  • It offers some protection from cancer of the uterus and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • It is safe to breastfeed after you have the implant fitted
  • Normal fertility levels (ability to have children) will return immediately after having the implant removed

What else do I need to know?

  • It does not protect you against STIs so always use a condom
  • May not be suitable for some women - a full medical history should be taken
  • In some women, periods may become irregular, with some bleeding in between, or periods may stop. This usually settles down after the first year
  • It is important to remember your implant expires after three years. If you have had unprotected sex (sex without condoms) after your implant has expired, you may need emergency contraception. Please seek advice from a healthcare professional as soon as possible

Where can I get an implant?

Find your nearest services using our services page.


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