I understand that family planning after having a baby can be overwhelming. There are a lot of options to choose from and all of them have risks. Perhaps the worst form of birth control I ever tried though was the Depo Shot. The Depo-Provera Contraceptive Injection was a nightmare for me. I was twenty years old and completely stupid. I was told how fantastic the shot was by the nurses at Planned Parenthood. I was warned that I might gain about five pounds.
They forgot to add a zero at the end of that five.
By the end of the second injection’s effective period, I had gained fifty pounds. I spotted every single day and had absolutely positively ZERO sex drive. I used to joke that Depo works 99% of the time, because 99 times out of a hundred, I’d just roll over and fall asleep.
There’s even more to consider than just my anecdotal evidence though. For example, you can take a look at the physician prescribing information.
- Depo should not be used for longer than two years unless other birth control methods are considered inadequate. I’m telling you, as a grown and married woman, I’d take even abstinence over the Depo Provera shot.
- Depo may cause you to lose significant bone mineral density and the loss may be irreversible. This might not matter much now to you, but consider what it will mean to you in thirty years. Adult women using it for up to 5 years showed spine and hip bone mineral density mean decreases of 5–6%, compared to no significant change in the control group. Five to six PERCENT!!!!
- Pfizer suggests that doctors “Monitor women with breast nodules or a strong family history of breast cancer carefully” while on the Depo shot because The National Cancer Institute reports an average annual incidence rate for breast cancer for US women of all races between the age of 15 to 34 to be 8.7 per 100,000 and they say that being on the Depo shot within the previous four years increases the risk from 8.7 to 19.0 cases per 100,000 women. While that might not seem like a lot of people, it doubles your risk!
- The shot will pass through your breast milk. Pfizer says that infants exposed to Depo from breast milk have been studied for developmental and behavioral effects through puberty with no ill effects. I think it’s important to notice though, that no research is available for the effect on the exposed child into adulthood and motherhood.
If you’re considering the Depo shot, consider these points and talk them over with your doctor first. Another anecdotal tip for you though: If you proceed with getting the injection, make sure to warn your significant other of the potential hormonal freak out like nothing he’s ever witnessed that could happen during the first couple of days and to keep an eye on you for depression as well.
Have you thought about a birth control method? Are you using one you are happy with currently?