The Jab

What is the jab?

The jab is a contraception injection also known as the Depo or Depo-Provera. It is a safe and convenient method of preventing pregnancy. If you get the jab on time every three months, it works really well.

The jab contains a tiny amount of hormone progestogen which is released into your body to prevent you from getting pregnant.

How does the jab work?

The jab releases a tiny amount of the hormone progestogen which works in two ways. Firstly it creates a sticky mucus inside your uterus making it difficult for the sperm to swim and get to the egg. The mucus acts like a barrier to stop sperm from swimming through the opening of your uterus. If sperm can’t reach the egg, then you can’t get pregnant.

It also stops you from ovulating, so an egg doesn’t leave your ovaries once a month. When there is no egg in the tube, there is nothing for the sperm to meet. So if a sperm does happen to get through the mucus barrier there will be nothing for it to fertilise. No egg, no pregnancy.

Getting the jab

How do I get the jab?

Getting the jab is simple. You get an injection in your upper arm or butt cheek, and as easy as that it’s done.  You need to have the jab every three months to maintain its effectiveness.

What will I feel?

You will feel a little pinch and sting as the injection goes in. It’s just like getting a vaccination. Your upper arm or butt cheek may be a little tender for the rest of the day, so take it easy.

Hormones in the jab

The jab contains a very small about of progestogen. Progestogen is like the hormone progesterone that your body makes naturally. The hormone is slowly released from the muscle where the injection goes in into your bloodstream over 12 weeks.

The jab is one of the many options of contraception that contain hormones.

What happens to my period on the jab?

Getting the jab may change your period. It might become lighter, shorter, or irregular. But in most cases, your period will completely stop. This is normal.

The hormone released from the jab changes the environment inside your uterus. Instead of the lining of your uterus thickening once a month to form a cosy nest for the egg, it remains thin. This stops the egg from being able to develop if fertilised. No nest, no pregnancy.

Because the lining of your uterus doesn’t thicken, there isn’t as much to come out as ‘blood’ at your period. This will lessen the flow of your period or most likely stop it altogether.

If your period doesn’t stop altogether, you may experience spotting between your periods. Period cramps will be much less uncomfortable or possibly even a thing of the past. As your uterus lining isn’t as thick, it doesn’t have to squeeze so much to get the lining out.

Even though the amount you bleed may change, you will still go through your monthly hormonal cycle. You will continue to experience any other normal period symptoms such as tender breasts, mood swings, tiredness, changes in your skin, cravings, and indulging in chocolate.

If you normally experience heavy and crampy periods, the jab could make a real difference to your time of the month.

When can I have sex?

You can have sex as soon as you feel ready after you get the jab. But depending on where you are in your cycle you may need to use contraception for a little longer.

  1. If you get the jab within the first 5 days of your period, you are protected straight away.

  2. If you get the jab at any other time during your cycle, you are not protected for the first 7 days. Using another form of contraception for the first week will help prevent pregnancy.

The jab is an amazing form of contraception, but it doesn’t protect you from STIs. Condoms are the only way to protect yourself from STIs.

Getting your next jab

The jab works really well if you get it on time every 12 weeks. If you get your next jab within the 12-week window, you won’t need to use contraception in between jabs. If you are a little late at getting your jab, you will just need to use another form of contraception up until the first week after your next jab.

You can get your next jab as early as 10 weeks after your last.

We will text you on week 10 to remind you to book in for your next shot.

What happens once I stop getting the jab?

You can stop getting the jab at any time you decide that it is no longer for you.

If your current jab hasn’t reached week 13, then it will still work. But after week 13 it will gradually stop working. The hormones from the injection will slowly leave your body. It may take weeks or even months for your period to return to normal.

You can get pregnant as soon as you stop getting the jab. But for some, it can take 6 months to a year for fertility to return to normal. The delay in your fertility kicking back in is not a contraceptive method. If you don’t wish to get pregnant, then considering another form of contraception is a great idea.

Learn more

Your guide to IUDs

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The Rod

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Other contraception

Learn more

Interested in using contraception?

Reach out online or call 0800 226 784 to speak to one of our nurses. We value your decision about your health.

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