Having birth control readily available for women can help them better plan their lives without the worries of an unplanned pregnancy. Although there is always a slight risk of having a pregnancy, even while on birth control, receiving the depo shot helps to reduce those chances. Instead of needing to remember to take a daily pill, one shot every 4 months can provide the same benefits. Is the depo shot right for you? Here are some pros and cons to consider.
The Pros of the Depo Shot
1. It begins to take effect almost immediately.
Contraceptive effectiveness is generally achieved within 24 hours of giving the shot. Other birth control methods may take upwards of a week or longer to achieve the same levels of effectiveness assuming that those other methods were taken 100% perfectly.
2. It is safe for older women or women who are breastfeeding.
Many birth control methods begin to lose their effectiveness when women reach the age of 35. For women who smoke, taking the standard birth control pill can actually be hazardous to their health. The depo shot removes those risks and it can even be given to women who are breastfeeding.
3. It has other potential health benefits.
Women with epilepsy who have received the depo shot have experienced a reduced frequency of seizures that are associated with their condition. Women have also noticed reductions in chronic pelvic pain, endometriosis, and PMS. It is even believed to help reduce the risks of an ectopic pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory conditions.
The Cons of the Depo Shot
1. Many women experience side effects from the shot.
Although the side effects of the depo shot aren’t life threatening, it can result in an increase of headaches and there may be potential weight gains. Women might also notice changes to their cycle and that there may be bleeding outside of their normal periods. If a woman has liver damage or active hepatitis, then they will be a poor candidate to receive the depo shot.
2. It is directly associated with a loss of bone density.
Bone mineral content is directly affected by the depo shot. Many women have a decrease that is just one deviation point from what would be considered a normal value, but for those women who have several risk factors for osteoporosis may wish to avoid the depo shot.
3. It isn’t 100% effective.
Although the chances of getting pregnant while on the depo shot is just 0.3%, there is still the chance that it may happen. Women who wish to avoid pregnancy will still need to combine other methods of contraception in order to guarantee that an unplanned pregnancy does not occur.
Although the depo shot isn’t for all women, it can still be a very effective form of birth control that doesn’t require lifestyle alterations. Weigh the pros and cons of the shot as you think about the options you wish to pursue and then make a choice that works the best for you.