What is Depo-Provera?
The Depo-Provera contraceptive injection is a birth control medication that is injected into the muscle. It contains the synthetic hormone progestin or depo-medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA), which helps regulate a woman's ovaries similarly to the way the natural hormone progesterone works—the Depo-Provera injection works by preventing ovulation for at least three months after the shot. The average woman will ovulate again about six to nine months after the last shot.
How does Depo-Provera work?
Depo-Provera prevents pregnancy in one of three ways:
- It prevents ovulation by stopping the ovaries from releasing an egg.
- It thickens the cervical mucus, which acts as a barrier to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg.
- It changes the lining of the uterus to prevent implantation.
How long does it last?
The Depo-Provera injection prevents ovulation for at least 3 months after an injection, and usually, it will take more than 3 months for your ovulation and fertility to return. There are no herbal medications that can speed up this process, and Clomid does not usually work shortly after the Depo shot. Many women on Depo Provera don't have regular menstrual bleeding, and getting a regular period usually means that ovulation has returned, but you can become fertile and ovulate even before your period comes back.
Since the Depo-Provera contraceptive injection is a long-acting birth control method, it takes some time after your last injection for its effect to wear off. Here are the results from a large study done in the United States of women who stopped using the Depo-Provera contraceptive injection to become pregnant:
- about half of those who become pregnant do so in about 10 months after their last injection
- about two-thirds of those who become pregnant do so in about 12 months
- about 83% of those who become pregnant do so in about 15 months
- about 93% of those who become pregnant do so about 18 months after their last injection
The length of time that you use Depo-Provera does not affect how long it takes you to become pregnant after you stop using it.
Learn more about other birth control methods in our Birth Control Guide!