After taking only two Depo-Provera shots, how long will it take for me to become pregnant? #303/15

Q         I first took the Depo shot in September and again in December.  I was supposed to go back to get the next injection in March, but I decided not to.  So basically, I only took 2 Depo shots.  I just turned 19 years old, but my boyfriend and I have decided that we want to have a baby.  How long will it take for me to become pregnant? 

A:       

Depo-Provera will not stop you from having a baby, although the return of fertility is slower following discontinuation of Depo than is found following discontinuation of all other temporary contraceptives.  The delay in return of fertility is approximately 9 months the last injection.  By 18 months, 90% of Depo-Provera users have become pregnant, which is the same percentage as woman become pregnant after using other methods [Schwallie, 1974] [Speroff and Darney – 2001]If you are discontinuing DMPA because be want to become pregnant, remember that the contraceptive effect may take a number of months to go away.  Start taking prenatal vitamins as soon as you decide to attempt pregnancy.  Be patient.

Fertility After Discontinuation Of Method

  • Because anovulation may last for more than 1 year, women who know they will want to become pregnant within one year of cessation of use would be wise to consider another option, especially women over 35 years of age.
  • Fertility returns after 3 months; however, the conception rates overall are lower than women discontinuing other contraceptive methods.  After last shot, 50% of women are pregnant after 6-7 months (compared to 4 months with other methods).  (Delay not increased with increased duration of use).  More than 90% of women become pregnant within 2 years.
  • Women who do not want to await spontaneous return of ovulation will require gonadotrophin therapy to induce ovulation.  Gonadotropins will not overcome effect of DMPA on cervical mucus.

Robert A. Hatcher MD, MPH

Emeritus Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics

Emory University School of Medicine

Atlanta, GA

To learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of Depo-Provera injections, go to: www.managingcontraception.com.   You can order all of these books listed below from our website or by calling 404-875-5001. 

Key Words:  Depo-Provera injections, pregnancy, discontinue, fertility, temporary contraceptives, prenatal vitamins, risk, birth defects

Reference:

Progestin-only contraceptives IN Zieman M, Hatcher RA, Allen AZ. et al Managing Contraception edition 2015-2016, pages 145 and 147

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Contraceptive Technology 20th edition

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