The contraceptive implant is a small plastic rod which sits under the skin of the inside of your upper arm. It lasts 3-5 years.

Inserting the implant is a simple procedure that takes about five minutes. A trained person inserts the implant into the inside of your upper arm. Generally it is not painful to have the implant inserted.

Once inserted the implant stays where it is, it does not move around your body. You can feel it under the skin.

It can take up to seven days for the implant to start working. It stops working when it is taken out, at which point your fertility returns.

How good is the contraceptive implant at preventing a pregnancy?

  • The implant works well at preventing a pregnancy.

  • If 100 women used the implant for a year and carried on with their normal sex life, then only 1 of those women would fall pregnant.

What are other good things about the implant?

  • You can start it straight after an abortion, and it works as soon as you put it in.

  • Once in place, you don’t need to think about it until it needs replacing, which can be up to five years depending on the implant. If you want to get pregnant sooner then you can simply remove the implant at any time.

  • Your previous fertility will return within a couple of months after the implant is removed.

  • It does not interrupt sex.

What else should you know?

  • The implant is inserted like an injection and it stays in the place it was inserted.

  • Unlike condoms, it does not protect from sexually transmitted infections.

Day to day life with your implant

  • Your regular bleeding pattern may change while using the implant. Your periods may stop or irregular bleeding may occur.

  • This is nothing to worry about, but any irregular bleeding can be managed with additional medication if required.

Frequently asked questions

  1. Will it be hard to have a baby after the implant is removed?
    The implant does not affect your long-term fertility. It only prevents you from having a baby while it is in your body.

  2. Will the implant move around my body?
    No. Once inserted it should stay where it is inserted. You can continue with any work and heavy lifting that you need to do.

  3. Will the implant cause irregular bleeding?
    Sometimes the implant can cause irregular bleeding, but generally this settles down. Your periods may stop while using the implant but this is not harmful to you.

  4. Will the implant causes changes to my skin?
    No. The implant sits under the skin. There may be a small scar where the implant is inserted but it will not be obvious that you have an implant.

Find out about other long term contraceptive methods

Compare methods

Compare different contraceptive methods, and see how well they work at preventing pregnancy.

Compare methods