Contraceptive implants are inserted under the skin of a woman’s upper arm and provide continuous, highly effective pregnancy protection for 3 to 5 years, depending on the type of implant. When this time is over, new implants can be inserted during the same visit that the old set is removed.
Implants are small plastic rods, each about the size of a matchstick. These rods are placed just under the skin on the inside of a woman’s upper arm.
Implants are almost 100% effective and can provide 3 to 5 years of protection from pregnancy, depending on the type of implant. Women have found implants to be among the easiest family planning methods to use. After implants are inserted, there are no further actions to take or additional costs until they are removed.
A woman must visit a trained health care provider to have implants put in her arm or to have them removed. To continue being highly effective, they should be removed and replaced promptly, in 3 to 5 years, depending on the type of implant.
A woman will become fertile again and able to get pregnant almost immediately after the implants are removed. If a woman desires to continue to use implants, a new set can be inserted, and the old ones do not have to be removed.
Side effects of implants include irregular vaginal bleeding and spotting. Some women’s monthly bleedings stop altogether. This pleases many women, but some may worry that something is wrong or that they are pregnant. It is important to counsel women in advance that they may stop menstruating and that this is harmless.