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Contraceptive Implant

Contraceptive Implant

The contraceptive implant is a small, flexible plastic tube, 40mm long, which is placed just under the skin in the upper arm. It releases the hormone progestogen to control your fertility. It is inserted by a trained doctor or nurse and lasts for three years.

The implant stops the release of an egg from the ovary by slowly releasing progestogen into your body. Progestogen also thickens the cervical mucus and thins the womb lining. This makes it harder for sperm to meet an egg, and less likely for your womb to accept a fertilised egg.


Key Facts

  • The contraceptive implant is over 99% effective
  • It’s a long acting reversible method of contraception (LARC)
  • It’s useful for women who find it difficult to take the pill everyday
  • The implant does not protect you against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) so you will need to use condoms as well


Who can use the implant?

Most women can be fitted with the contraceptive implant. It may not be suitable if you:

  • think you might be pregnant 
  • want to keep having regular periods  
  • have bleeding in between periods or after sex 
  • have arterial disease or a history of heart disease or stroke 
  • have a blood clot in a blood vessel (thrombosis) 
  • have liver disease  
  • have migraines 
  • have breast cancer or have had it in the past 
  • have diabetes with complications 
  • have cirrhosis or liver tumours 
  • are at risk of osteoporosis   


After having a baby

You can have the contraceptive implant fitted immediately after you have given birth. It is also safe to use the implant while you are breastfeeding.


After a miscarriage or abortion

The implant can be fitted immediately after a miscarriage or an abortion, and you will be protected against pregnancy straight away.


Advantages and disadvantages


  • it doesn’t interrupt sex
  • it works for up to three years
  • Your fertility returns to normal as soon as its removed
  • There is no evidence it causes additional weight gain


  • Some medicines reduce the implants effectiveness
  • It may disrupt your bleeding patterns making them irregular or stop altogether
  • It’s common to experience temporary side effects during the first few months, such as headaches, breast tenderness and mood swings

Free and confidential advice and support

Contact a sexual health adviser

The Passionate about Sexual Health (PaSH) Partnership) is a collaboration between BHA for Equality, George House Trust and the LGBT Foundation. The PaSH Partnership will deliver a comprehensive programme of interventions to meet the changing needs of people newly diagnosed with HIV, living longer term with HIV or at greatest risk of acquiring HIV.

0845 450 4247

Free & confidential sexual health services for black and minority communities



0161 274 4499

Free and confidential support, advice and advocacy services for people living with HIV



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Providing advice, support and resources for LGBT people to take control of their sexual health and wellbeing