The birth control implant is a very reliable, long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC)
Patients looking for effective birth control may want to consider the birth control implant. The birth control implant, along with the IUD, is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC), which means it is put in place and remains effective for three years. Once it’s removed, you are able to get pregnant.
Our Austin obgyns often recommend this form of birth control to women who want to have birth control that works without worrying about scheduling or daily pills. The birth control implant is also highly effective, with fewer than 1 in 100 women getting pregnant each year while using the device.
How does the birth control implant work?
The birth control implant, which is a small, matchstick-sized flexible plastic rod, works by releasing low doses of the hormone progestin into the bloodstream. Progestin makes cervical mucus thicker, thins the uterine lining and prevents the egg from leaving the ovaries.
How is the device implanted and removed?
Some women worry about having the device implanted, but it’s a simple procedure. Our Austin obgyns numb your arm with lidocaine before they use a slightly larger gauge needle to insert the birth control implant under the skin of the inner arm.
To remove the birth control implant, your obgyn will numb your arm and make a very small incision (about 3 mm, or .119 inches). You can have another device inserted at this time if you wish.
After the birth control implant is inserted, our Austin obgyns recommend that our patients use another form of birth control for the first two weeks.
What are the risks and benefits of this form of birth control?
- After the birth control implant is placed, you can forget about it and let it do its job for the next three years.
- It doesn’t affect or interfere with sexual intercourse.
- The birth control implant can be placed immediately following childbirth, miscarriage or an abortion.
- It can be used while breastfeeding with no effect on the baby.
- It’s completely reversible—simply have the device removed if you want to get pregnant.
With any birth control method, there are some risks.
- The most common risk or side effect is irregular bleeding or spotting.
- There is a very slight chance of problems at the insertion site, including infection, pain or bruising.
- Some women report having mood swings and headaches. Women with a history of depression should discuss this with our Austin obgyns.
Important note: The birth control implant doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s), so women should continue to practice safe sex.
Our Austin obgyns care about wellness and comprehensive care for women, and we want our patients to find the birth control method that works best for them. To discuss the birth control implant and other methods of birth control, contact us.