Healthy living

Injectable hormonal contraceptive

Depo Provera®

Depo Provera is a synthetic hormone (progestogen) that is given by injection every 3 months. It is slowly released into a woman’s body, and works in 3 ways:

  • it stops the female body releasing an egg each month
  • it changes the lining of the uterus so a fertilised egg cannot grow
  • it makes the mucous in the cervix thicker so sperm cannot get through.


  • It is very convenient as you only need 1 injection every 3 months.
  • It contains no oestrogen, so may be safer for some women, including smokers and other women who cannot take the pill.
  • It is not affected by body weight, stomach upsets or medications.

Things to consider

  • While on Depo Provera, many women stop getting periods after the first couple of injections.
  • You need to go to your doctor or health service to have the injection.
  • Irregular bleeding may occur after the first few injections.
  • Once given, the injections cannot be reversed or cancelled – you just have to wait for the hormone to reduce over time.
  • Most women start having periods and become fertile again 4 to 8 months after their last injection, but it can take longer for some women.
  • Depo Provera is a very effective contraceptive, but will not protect you against STIs or HIV.

Where to get help

Sexual Health and Blood-borne Virus Program, Public Health

This publication is provided for education and information purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical care. Information about a therapy, service, product or treatment does not imply endorsement and is not intended to replace advice from your healthcare professional. Readers should note that over time currency and completeness of the information may change. All users should seek advice from a qualified healthcare professional for a diagnosis and answers to their medical questions.

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