The Implanon, also known as the hormonal implant, is approximately the size of a matchstick. It is 40mm long and has a diameter of 2mm. The Implanon is inserted in the upper arm, just below the skin, and is effective for three years.

Implanon contains one hormone called progestin. The implant prevents pregnancy by suppressing ovulation and thickening the cervical mucus, which limits the passage of sperm. Progestin also causes changes to the lining of the uterus that make it an unfavorable environment for a pregnancy.
During the first three months after insertion of the Implanon there may be irregular blood loss, usually in small amounts, also called spotting. After three to six months this will subside and there may occasionally be very light bleeding or the menstrual periods may stop altogether; this is not harmful.

When can an Implanon be inserted?

If you are breastfeeding, the implant can be inserted 3 to 4 weeks after giving birth. If you are not breastfeeding then the implant can be inserted directly after delivery. The exact timing of insertion is decided together with your midwife/primary care doctor/gynecologist.

What is the insertion procedure like?

The Implanon is inserted in the upper arm, just below the skin, which is numbed with an anesthetic prior to insertion. The insertion of the implant will therefore not be felt. In the days following insertion there may be some bruising or swelling by the insertion site.

If the Implanon is inserted during menstruation then it is immediately effective. If the Implanon is not inserted during menstruation then you must use an additional method of contraception for the first seven days after insertion.

Advantages

  • You only need to think about contraception one time in three years.
  • The implant is very effective.
  • The implant contains relatively few hormones.
  • Menstrual periods almost always decrease in terms of blood loss, duration, frequency and pain.
  • It can be used while breastfeeding.
  • After removing the implant, fertility returns after 1-2 weeks.

Disadvantages

  • The insertion and removal of the Implanon must be done by a doctor or midwife.
  • There may be unpredictable and irregular blood loss, called spotting.
  • Headaches may occur during the first weeks after insertion of the implant; these resolve on their own.

More information?

If you would like more information about the different types of contraception you can refer to the links below or contact one of the midwives.